The website dictionary.com offers a blended family definition that says that a blended family is a family that is composed of a couple and the children that they have from previous marriages. While this definition seems straightforward enough, the truth is that blending American families is a difficult and stressful process. Blending families into a single familial unit is complicated! It does not happen over night (no matter how much the couple wishes it were so).
Blended families are also referred to as “step families.” The word “step” was used to illustrate the relationship that was created when a man (or woman) married a widow (or widower) who had children of her own as a result of her previous marriage. The original word used for “step” was related to the word that was often used for bereaved or orphan. Today the word “step parent” does not always connote the relationship forged between a child and a new parent after his biological parent has passed away. In fact, it is possible to have a step family even when both parents are alive and well (though not married to each other)!
According to the etymology behind the blended family definition, a step family is the direct result of a marriage and cannot be defined as such without a legally binding marriage contract. This poses a problem for historical, etymological and familial scholars when they are forced to take into account the fact that in contemporary times, families are forged and blended even if no formal marriage has taken place. Many adults are choosing to live together and blend their families together into a single family unit without ever having a marriage ceremony or legally linking themselves together. This is one of the reasons that the phrase “blended family” has become so popular.
Blending American families is difficult. The relationships between parents and children are complicated enough without having to bring in the issues of biology as well. The fact is that many step parents and children have a hard time learning to live together as parent and child. Some never make that leap completely and can comfortably acknowledge a friendly and respectful relationship without ever fully recognizing the parent child relationship as complete. The same can be said of step siblings and siblings forged in blended families. Of course these relationships usually take a long time to develop!
It is important, if you are working to blend your family, that you be patient and not rush into things (and don’t resist the relationship either). There will be problems and issues that arise out of any blending of American families and it is important that all involved try to work thing out in a peaceful and mutually respectful way. Some families find that family therapy can help them work past the strict blended family definition and forge new family relationships with each other.
The blended family definition is far too strict. No true family can be confined to such narrow definitive terms!
Source by Pieter West