The Brady Bunch is one of many of America’s most famous television families. They were the ultimate blended family. Not only were Mike and Carol the perfect step-parents, their six kids were annoyingly well adjusted siblings and step-siblings. Even though Marcia and Greg competed as the eldest of the six and Bobby loved pulling Cindy’s hair as any little brother does, Mike’s three boys and Carol’s three girls got along famously. Even when tensions arose, they were happily resolved by the end of each episode. The Brady’s didn’t really need to call Thriveworks Columbus Polaris office at (614) 356-8565…but if they had, we’d be ready to help schedule an appointment, often within 24 hours!
Being a blended family is not as easy as the Brady’s made it seem. It is a big challenge to merge two families and build a happy home where everyone is happy and content. And, the more children involved, the higher the difficulty. Most families find that getting some step-family counseling helps to navigate these often-turbulent waters more smoothly.
Relationships in blended families need to be given a chance to grow. They need to be nurtured and won’t always develop at the same pace. Because two people love each another doesn’t mean that their children are going to get along, let alone love one another. However, with step-family therapy, willingness, and hard work, the result can be hugely rewarding. Two broken families can merge into one strong step-family where there is love, respect, and gratitude for having the opportunity to grow into one big family where everyone looks out for one another.
Having a skilled step-family therapist facilitate the process can help blended families reach this point a lot more quickly. It doesn’t matter how long you have experienced a blended family if you’re having problems a skilled counselor will be able to help.
Thriveworks Columbus, OH (Polaris), have many years of experience offering step-family therapy. Please schedule an appointment with them by calling (614) 356-8565.
How Does a Blended Family Appear?
Blended families appear in all shapes and sizes. They can be parents of children who live apart and share parenting responsibilities or divorced parents who have remarried, and both have children from previous relationships. Sometimes they can even be a blend of two or three different marriages with some children being blood siblings and others half or stepbrothers and sisters.
- In the early 70’s when the Brady Bunch was one of the most popular shows on television the divorce rate in the USA was 30% for first marriages.
- This statistic is now 50% for first marriages and higher for 2nd and 3rd marriages. Some separations aren’t reflected in the divorce statistics because the partners never married. More and more people now have children without getting married.
- It is estimated that at least 46% of the 70 million children in America have experienced a divorce or family break-up. Many of these will now be a part of a blended family.
Although the make-up of each blended family is unique, many of the challenges they face are the same, which is why step-family counseling can be so helpful. Therapists will have experience in applying a range of different methods that work for a variety of personalities and blended family configurations.
Adjustment: a Blended Family’s Greatest Challenge
Being part of a blended family or step-family involves varying degrees of adjustment for both the children and adults involved. Even beneficial changes like creating a blended family can be very stressful. Adjustments can be particularly challenging for children as they mostly have no control over the situation and may also be dealing with the trauma of the death of a parent or the separation from one of their parents. They will more than likely be dealing with a range of heart-wrenching emotions that they have never had to deal with before. Not having the experience or the skills for coping with these emotions, feelings of frustration, and sadness can allow it to manifest itself in behavioral problems.
Children might also feel confused about the new structure of their blended family. They may be unsure if their parent’s new partner is going to be co-parenting them or not. They may not understand a different parenting style. They may be the baby in the family or the oldest, or from the oldest to being the youngest. These difficulties can be addressed more effectively with the objective input of a step-family therapist.
The adults in a blended family also need to deal with significant adjustments. A couple may experience difficulties in their new relationship no matter how much they love one another when blending their families. Their partner may have a different approach to discipline or may never have had to parent a child before. Relationships between ex-spouses and new spouses, as well as between new partners and children, all need to be refined. Boundaries have to be set and roles clarified. Navigating the blending of a new family can put enormous strain on even the most solid relationship.
New skills may need to be learned, and compromises reached at a time when there is uncertainty, charged emotion, and significant change. This new lifestyle can be daunting even in the most civil of break-ups. This challenge is also an opportunity. It is the start of something new and a chance to form deep bonds through shared experience and even love for people with whom you may not ordinarily spend time.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Blended families don’t only need to deal with significant adjustments; they also often have to deal with old baggage and unhealthy ways of communicating that have become habitual. A new relationship can come after the end of a marriage that has been unhappy for years, or after the death of one of the partners and will not come without struggles. However, step-family counselors will be able to calmly and lovingly guide children and adults through these challenges, individually and as a family. They will work to try and help everyone adjust to their new circumstances and discover ways to love, respect, and connect, and reveal the joy and possibilities that can be found in any blended family.
Thriveworks counselors in Columbus Polaris office have worked with blended families. They know how to assist children in validating and expressing their emotions, and in discovering how their new family can be a positive development in their lives. They know how to work to help adults find the confidence to lead their loved ones into their unique circumstances safely and without compromising their new relationship.
Best of all they will give you an appointment within 24 hours of your call so that you can take that first step towards growing into the big happy blended family you want for your loved ones. Call Thriveworks now at (614) 356-8565.