Blended Family Advantages & Disadvantages

Blending a family takes time, energy and commitment. When adults with children marry, they are often dismayed by unanticipated difficulties along the way. Despite the "everything’s rosy" reruns of television shows such as the Brady Bunch, blending lifestyles and children to create a new family has both advantages and disadvantages.

More Members of the Family

In a blended family that functions well, children have more relatives to support, teach and love them, according to “Excerpt from Home-School Relations: Working Successfully with Parents and Families” on the website 1. The differing perspectives and experience of these new family members adds richness and diversity to the child’s life. Although this can have a number of benefits for both child and relative, it can also result in conflict due to differing viewpoints. The child might feel pulled in multiple directions, feel she can never please anyone or simply give up and become passive.

Economic Matters

A majority of single-parent families are headed by females, and it is not uncommon for the children to live in a more limited economic situation than their duel parent counterparts. When the mother remarries, economic conditions and standards of living often improve, if the total family income increases. Mom may have fewer economic worries and decreased stress, which allows her to spend more time focused on the children. However, when both parents bring children into the blended family, there may also be more need to share toys, clothes or activities which creates more conflict.

New Roles

A blended family may be more stable, secure and loving, especially when children previously experienced domestic violence, neglect or child abuse. Family dynamics always change when a family blends, according to the website 3. When a stepparent comes to live in the home a child previously shared with both biological parents, for example, it might seem to the child that the new parent is a guest in the home. Comments such as “You’re not my mother!” can arise when the stepparent attempts to exert authority.

Learning to Flex

Because of the changes inherent in successfully creating a blended family, both parents and children learn flexibility, according to 1. Adults’ attitudes and behavior have a significant impact on the success of the new family, and children can learn a great deal about compromise, negotiation and conflict resolution. Children can develop coping skills, for example, as they learn to adapt to change. These skills can be beneficial throughout their lives. However, if blended family stresses are significant or major difficulties arise, parents should seek help from experts such as pediatricians or counselors to help everyone in the family make a good adjustment.

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