Blended Families and Children
photo credit: Symic
Problems with Blended Families and Children
Raising children is no easy task for birth parents the journey becomes more complicated and stressful with step families. Due to divorce on the rise-many children are being raised in blended families and is slowly becoming a trend.
Being a stepmother or stepfather is not trouble-free. Begin as soon as possible to build trusting relationships with stepchildren. It is absolutely normal and expected that children do not have a positive attitude at the formation of the blended family. With time, respect and patience step parents can begin to pave the way to happiness and harmony within a blended family.
The Impact on Your Child
On a daily basis, the step parent must take care of your partner’s child like a parent but does not have the same powers on authority. You can be affectionate without hoping for emotional reciprocity.
The step parent is usually in a difficult spot especially with interactions of affection and authority with the child. If he makes a demand he might risk the response, “You’re not my Dad!” and if there is too much affection, you might be worried of being accused for wanting to replace the other parent. There is a constant struggle to find the right mix.
From the stepmother’s viewpoint, the defeat is much more. We ask the stepmothers to support the parent, while avoiding investing too much on the emotional level. This goes against what is expected of a woman and mother of a family traditionally, there is a big investment in terms of household responsibilities and care.
For many stepmothers who live in blended families, many are conscious of this dilemma. Many believe that choosing to love their partner means accepting his kids without expecting that this love be reciprocated. Some believe that being a step mom, “It’s like a weight loss program for the ego! You need to give and give and not expect anything in return.”
A mom might sometimes be discontented but there is sometimes a moment where everything is erased-when your child runs towards you and grabs you by the neck hugs and kisses you. Everything he has done is all forgotten and forgiven! With stepchildren there is usually not this type of reaction-there are pleasant moments and moments when the child tells you, “Mommy makes better cupcakes than you! Understanding the possible spectrum of emotions of the child will help in your role as a step parent as well as your confidence.
photo credit: wharman
The Impact on Your Partner
The step parent lives sometimes a change of pace that contrasts sharply with the single life he knew before. For instance, the “honeymoon stage” with your partner is shortened therefore you become a parent instantaneously.
For many in this situation this signifies that many concrete questions must be answered rapidly; for instance household organization, distribution of tasks and budget to name a few. You may also experience a complete new world-for example changing diapers for a baby. It might be a crash course for some but can be a big source of learning at rapid speed.
Others may experience a time of get together and uniting two big families. Even if you posses the same values, you are different adults each with a history of being a couple, with having particular food habits, different life rules. For example, your partner lived 10 years with his partner and you have maybe more of less with your own. This demands a lot of adaptation especially when many children and age categories from both sides.
This may explain the frequent tensions in the midst of blended families. Studies reveal that tensions play a part in the scheme of things. The more complex the family organization, the more likely the risk of divorce for the second couple is elevated. Blended families are not the union of two people but also two world, two families, two parents with their history, their habits, their lifestyles, their values sometimes very different and sometimes even contradictory. The answer to a successful step family joining together is through these differences that step parents must focus on to build their recomposed family.
photo credit: MDGovpics
How Society Views Step Parents
Whether in films or in children’s books like Cinderella or Snow White the step parent usually had a bad role. The character is typically represented as the one who takes care of the children she does not love or who wants to monopolize the attention of one parent at the detriment of the children. She is sometimes even the martyr. The myth of “bad” step parent is heavy on the minds and shoulders of stepmothers. They are usually seen as the “wicked stepmother” and as the “other” woman who wants the man for her without kids.These fairy tales are anchored in our imagination.
In this regard, society and legislation perceive step parents with less favorable rights. It is a role that is usually charged with a load of responsibility, with very little authority, or legal or social recognition. For example at the hospital a step parent can not sign the authorization for care needs, at school they are reluctant to acknowledge him a say and for traveling you require an authorization to accompany the child. Even in cases of death or separation of parents he sees his rights violated even if he was justly involved in the education of the child for many years.
Luckily, some courts are becoming sensitive to the step parent’s role and increasingly we can expect to see a favorable decision is forthcoming in legislation. Step parents play an important part in the child’s life if you need family help don’t be afraid to ask and seek out solutions!
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Filed under: Blended Families
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