blended family will become, if not already, the standard model of the family in
the western world. What is a blended
family? The author describes the blended
family as one where the children associated with the marriage are related
biologically to only one parent. These
children can be adults or minors.
The main contributors to the formation
of blended families are second marriages, single parents marrying to one other
than the child’s biological parent and adoptions. A sad fact about blended families is the
success rate is not as good as the non-blended families. The good news however is, by adequately
addressing key issues one of two things will happen. The first possible outcome is no marriage
because by addressing these pertinent areas the only sensible course of action
is to STOP. The second possible outcome
is the necessary adjustments will be made thus increasing the possibility of a
successful blended family. Almost all of
the blended family killers could be arrested if sound advice is followed. Too many enter unprepared. Let’s examine areas that need addressing
before marriage, but if already married can be areas of healthy discussions.
The other biological parent. How rational is the other parent? What is the personality type? Is the parent cantankerous or
reasonable? Are there major unresolved
issues between both parents? The very
thought of another person entering the life of the child is, for some bio
parents, enough to invoke nasty negative behavior that will place undue
pressure on the new blended family unit.
The gender and age of the
child/children. Child rearing is a challenge
and as we all know, different age brackets (teen) present certain challenges
that sometimes call for tough parenting.
Bio mothers especially must ask themselves if they are prepared for a
man to enter their lives (her and the children) and exercise appropriate tough
parenting without allowing it to created a disconnect between her and the
new. The non-bio parent must also seriously
consider the ages of the children involved and what is going to be required of
him/her to complete the parenting processes.
Many non-bio parents are not prepared to amend their life styles or
plans to continue the growth process for the children. If this is the case marriage should not be
considered any further.
Assets. Before your marriage, legally protect any
assets you own that you intend to be inherited by your children. I strongly recommend that you insist your
expected spouse do the same. Whatever
arrangements are made should be honestly and clearly explained to each
other. The flip side to this act is,
when your spouse die even if you carry out his/her wishes, you expose yourself
to intense scrutiny and criticism from his/her children and relatives. Save yourself the headache.
Rules of engagement for
discipline of the children. Set the rules!
will spank, remove privileges, does each bio-parent deal with own child?
settled rules should be conveyed to the children.
Major expenses. Everyday expenses for the upkeep of the
children are usually not an issue. But
when major expenses arise (college, braces, medical attention, trips etc) it is
not uncommon for the stepparent to be unwilling, expecting the child’s other
parent to provide the money. This
attitude often takes the spouse by surprise and can become a point of
contention throughout the marriage.
Bring expectations to the table before hand.
Visitation with or of the
other parent. Many parents are reluctant for the child to
be in the presence of the stepparent or have the stepparent transport the
child. If at all possible, be
considerate of the wishes of the other bio-parent. Do not forget to discuss the holiday
breaks. Do not put your spouse in an
awkward position with the other parent.
Always protect each other.
these and other challenges, you can improve the odds of a blended family
surviving and staying healthy.
About the Author: Cedrick Beckles is a pastor,
family/marriage counselor, motivational speaker and writer, who equips
people to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Email bahamaslifeministries@
yahoo.comTel:242-352-5268, or 352-5252