Pareting

Not step, Not Half, Just Family

The family structure in the US is changing and blended families are becoming more common. While raising any family comes with its fair share of hurdles, blended families have to deal with a lot more challenges.

I don’t have a blended family myself but I have friends who do and I admire the work they put into uniting their families. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To have a happy family where everyone feels supported, valued and loved.

Sure blended families come with a lot of names depending on the mix involved. All kinds of remarriages can happen, thrusting children from both partners into a world of “steps” and “halves”. You can have stepfathers and mothers, step-siblings and half-siblings. These names might be biologically correct but sometimes they miss the point –FAMILY.

A blended family, regardless of how it came about, is still family. We are human and sometimes we tend to focus on irrelevant things. So rather than spending time worrying about titles in blended families, what you should call each other or how to explain your family to other people, the focus should be on bringing your family together.

Uniting a Blended Family Can Be Challenging

When it comes to families, none is perfect and blended ones can be even more challenging to bring up. Don’t let the Brady Bunch fool you, becoming one united blended family doesn’t always go seamlessly.

It would be naïve to expect your family to meld together right away. Your children will need time to adjust to your new partner and their new siblings. Sibling rivalry will still be there and might even be worse, especially if the number of kids in the family increases and they feel they’re not getting the attention they’re used to.

Parents also need some time to adjust to the changes brought about by blending their families. You’ll have to work together to navigate tricky terrain with co-parenting, discipline issues, dealing with holidays and celebrations, divided loyalties and other headaches that may arise. You’ll find yourselves looking for any parenting tips you can get your hands on and having lots of conversations to work things out.

In spite of these challenges, it’s up to you to give bringing the family together your best shot.

Yes, It’s Worth It

So what if your child has a different biological mother or father? Or maybe they’re not comfortable calling you mom or dad and instead prefer using your first names? Does that make you love them any less?

Ignore the “half” and “step” titles and purpose to unite the family, bonded by love under one roof. Think of it as having been given a puzzle to complete with a bunch of different pieces thrown in. Insisting on making the original picture on the box won’t work. What will work is making a new picture with the pieces you have now.

Purpose not to separate members through titles and proudly say yours isn’t a step or half family, but just a family.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter