Carol, Mike, Cindy, Bobby, Jan, Peter, Marcia, and Greg are America’s blended family. “The Brady Bunch” first aired in 1969 and gave everyone a peek into the challenges and the beauty of being one big, happy family. The show touched on common challenges that blended families face. It did not shy away from Marcia and Greg’s battle to be the oldest child. Bobby and Cindy’s rivalry to be the baby was a common theme as well. The Bradys also opened people’s eyes to the benefits of bringing two families together.
Yes, blended families may double the drama, but they also double the love. When two families blend into one, there are a lot of adjustments that everyone needs to make, but those adjustments are often worth the effort. No one has to navigate the process alone. Many blended families work with a counselor and go to therapy together. Thriveworks in Littleton, CO has mental health professionals on staff who specialize in unconventional and blended families.
“One of the most important lessons our children have learned from our divorces is that some things in life can come to an end, but that’s okay because something new is manifested. In our case, it’s a blended family that has respect, love, trust, authenticity and a sense of fun.”
—Jennifer Kessler, mom and stepmom
What Are the Challenges of a Blended Family?
Challenges are inevitable in a blended family. There are losses to be grieved. There are adjustments to be implemented. There are parenting disagreements and stepsibling rivalries. There is also love to be cherished, and relationships to be valued. Many stepfamilies turn to a counselor as they navigate the emotional, social, and physical challenges of establishing their new family. Therapy for blended families has helped many start their journey on the right foot.
Challenges for Couples When Blending Families
Establishing a new marriage or partnership is a challenge in and of itself, but in a blended family, that partnership is formed in the context of other relationships also forming. Couples have to set the tone for themselves but also for their kids. They have to set the course for the whole system. Partners will have to establish their own, unique parenting style while navigating their ex’s parenting styles. They will have to forge roles and potentially learn new social-emotional skills for doing so.
Challenges for Kids When Blending Families
Just as the adults in a stepfamily will experience a number of challenges, so will the kids. Any adjustments in a child’s life, even ones that are positive for them, can cause stress. Adding to the stress, children often can exert the least amount of control in the transition. Kids may also be grieving their parents’ divorce or a parent’s death. They may be feeling emotions they have never had previously, emotions such as grief, frustration, anger, loss, and sadness. These emotions can cause behavioral problems as kids learn how to process them in a healthy way.
Kids may also face particular challenges as they interact with new siblings. Often, in blended families, birth order is disturbed. The oldest may no longer be the boss. The youngest may no longer be the baby. These sibling relationships are important to navigate well. Family therapists at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO can work with both children and adults to come up with solutions to complex issues.
Your blended family may be well on its journey or it may be just setting out. No matter where you are in that process of blending, if you are bumping up against roadblocks, consider reaching out to a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO.
How Do You Blend Two Families?
When two families come together to form a new family, there is no mold, no formula, and no way they “should” look. That blended families can have no limits is one of their greatest challenges and one of their greatest beauties. When people are clear about their roles and willing to address challenges, then family members are often free to love one another well.
The divorce rate in 1969, when “The Brady Bunch” began its run on TV, was 30 percent for first-time marriages. That percentage has risen to 40, and it continues to rise for second- and third-time marriages. Many leave one family and form a new one through remarriage or new romantic unions. As many as 1300 new blended families are being established every day, according to the US Census Bureau. With the divorce rate near 50 percent, it makes sense that 50 percent of America’s children ages 13 and under are also living in blended families.
Get Exceptional Therapy for Your Blended Family at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO
As you read about blending a family, did you recognize any of the challenges? Most likely, you did. These common challenges also have common solutions. That is why many stepfamilies work with a qualified therapist. Being a loving, tight-knit family is possible, but it may take some work. Skilled counselors like those at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO can guide that process. Blended family therapy is not a silver bullet or a magic formula, but it is often the support that people need to establish their unique, harmonious home.
If you are ready to reach out, licensed relationship therapists at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO are ready to meet with you and your family. When you contact our office, know that a scheduling specialist will answer your call and help you schedule an appointment. We know that families are busy, so we offer evening and weekend appointments, both in-person and online. We also accept many different forms of insurance. Let’s work together to create a happy family. Call Thriveworks in Littleton, CO today.