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Can blended families be happy?

Can blended families be happy?

There are many things that no one ever tells you about blended families, such as the conflicts and the misunderstandings, as well as the constant dedication it takes. While the traditional family dynamics have a wide variety of literature to their name, you might not find a lot of guidance on blended families. You do not know if you are going in the right direction or creating a bigger mess. As such, can blended families be truly happy?

The Challenges

Plain and simple, blended families are tougher to manage than traditional families. They require more effort and dedication from both partners as well as sacrifices and compromises. While managing any family is challenging, with blended families, the responsibility just increases. It becomes harder to adjust, to give in when needed, and stand strong when required.

Children

According to studies, 66% of marriages with children from previous relationships end.[1] If you or your partner have children, adjusting can be tricky for them. According to Jeanne Segal (Ph.D.) and Lawrence Robinson, children who face a lot of changes at once can have a very difficult time adjusting.[2] This can lead to rebellion, which causes conflicts and strains in the family. As the parent, you will have to ensure a smooth and gradual transition of your children and your partner or even your partner’s children.

Relationship

With blended families, couples have less time to devote to their romantic relationship. Tempers will run high, and patience very low. Couples often have a hard time adjusting to the new roles expected of them.[3] Parenting, especially, becomes a sensitive topic. Even if you love your partner’s children like your own, there often remains a boundary that you cannot cross, where you cannot be so openly frank or critical of your partner’s choices.

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry takes on new meaning in a blended family. Step-siblings will often compete for love and attention, and instances of dislike, fighting, or even bullying can be found.[4] These can lead to a stressful relationship between parents and the family as a whole.

The Benefits

Despite the difficulties, a blended family is considered a second chance at happiness. While there are obstacles that you need to tackle, there are a lot of benefits for the new families that often outweigh the disadvantages.

Individual Happiness

Parental happiness and felicity contribute extensively to family health. Happy parents lead to happy children. According to a study, single mothers are twice more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, resulting in detrimental effects on the children.[5] With blended families, single parents can find their own happiness while parenting.

Extended Support Network

Couples who have had longstanding experience as blended families swear by the immense love and support network that they acquired over time, that let them experience true happiness.[6] The extended support network of blended including stepparents, biological parents, grandparents, and stepsiblings is great for the emotional development of children.

Growth

With blended families, members learn acceptance and discipline, as well as the value of compromise and love. Blended families bring about a lot of positive emotions such as love and friendship. And also help in developing parents and children as strong individuals.

 

While blended families can be happy,a lot to handle and it takes a lot of effort to make them survive. It is also true that they provide a way to true happiness if you persevere and stay together.

 

References:

[1] Blended Family Issues. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/blended-family-issues

[2] Blended Family and Step-Parenting Tips. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/step-parenting-blended-families.htm

[3]   Blended Family Issues. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/blended-family-issues

[4] How to Navigate Challenges as a Blended Family. https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/blended-family-tips#common-challenges

 

[5] Psychosocial factors associated with symptoms of depression… population-based study. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.08.013

[6] A Blended Family’s Breakthrough. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/202009/blended-family-s-breakthrough

 

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