Therapy in Marietta, GA for Blended Families
Theirs was a match made in heaven—both for the couple and their children. Mike, with his three boys, was perfectly aligned to Carol, with her three girls. The Bradys are one of America’s most recognizable TV families, and they were the picture of the perfect blended family. Marcia and Greg competed to be the oldest, and Bobby would pull Cindy’s hair. However, they were almost always one, big happy family. Any tensions were resolved by the end of every episode. If only being a blended family were so easy! Most blended families run into a number of challenges as they build their unified, happy home. In many cases, blended families are working with a family therapist or psychologist to help them navigate those challenges. Being a blended family can be a lot of work, but it is almost always worth the effort.
“You have to take things slowly. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you’re going to automatically love their children.
All relationships take time to grow and develop. Be willing to give everyone the time and space they need. It will come.”
Allowing all the relationships within a blended family to grow naturally is important, but it can also be difficult. Relationships take time and space to develop, and there are many things that parents cannot control. Blending a family can be a challenge, but it is also an opportunity. Step families often become that ideal, big family where relationships and love run deep, and everyone looks out for each other. Getting there may be a challenge, but no one has to take the journey alone. Skilled counselors can often help blended families find their rhythm.
Your blended family may be relatively new or yours may be farther along in the journey. Wherever your family is, Thriveworks Marietta is ready to help. We offer counseling for blended families.
Blended Families: What Can They Look Like?
Part of the beauty of blended families or step families is that there is no formula for them. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they often find love and acceptance wherever it is to be found. A few examples of blended families include:
- Parents who have divorced, separated, or broken up. They may share parenting responsibilities, but they are living in different homes. No other partners are involved.
- Re-coupled or re-married parents whose partner has never had children and takes an active role in parenting their children.
- Re-coupled or re-married parents whose partner does not take an active role in parenting their children.
- Re-coupled and re-married parents who both have children from previous relationships.
- And the list could continue…
When The Brady Bunch’s first episode aired in 1969, the divorce rate for first marriages was at 30 percent. Since, it has risen to 40 percent, and the rate of divorce for second- and third-time marriages is even higher. With the divorce rate around 50 percent, it makes sense that half of the 60 million children ages 13 and under live with a step family. Blended families are a fixture of any community, and they are a growing presence. The US Census Bureau claims that approximately 1300 new step families are made each day. Many step families face similar problems and challenges.
Step Families: Adjustments for the Kids
When life is up-in-the-air, children often feel the stress of those adjustments. Even when the changes are for everyone’s benefit, children can struggle with their new life. As families are blended, children often have the least amount of control. They also may be dealing with deep emotions that they have never experienced before. They may be grieving a parent’s death or their divorce. Children may be figuring out how to navigate two different homes with two different expectations for them. They may feel loss, frustration, and sadness. They may also deal with these emotions through behavioral problems.
When children are adjusting to a new step parent, they can be confused by unclear expectations. Is their parent’s partner a co-parent? If not, then how will the child and adult relate to each other? If the new partner has children, a child will have even more adjustments. Often, when families are blended, birth order is disturbed. The oldest may no longer be the boss. The baby may no longer be the baby of the family. These are big challenges that children often need help navigating.
Step Families: Adjustments for the Adults
Just as children face big adjustments in a blended family, so do adults. Becoming a couple or establishing a marriage cannot be the sole focus for partners. They have to establish their own relationship while leading the whole family through the blending process. Each partner may need to establish new relationships. If one of the partners has never parented before, then those are skills that need to be learned and implemented. If a partner is not going to take an active role in parenting, then the role they will take needs to be clarified and established.
Setting Up an Appointment at Thriveworks Marietta for Blended Families
With every challenge, there is also an opportunity. When blended families meet these challenges with support and structure, they often can become one, big, happy family. They do not have to go through the process alone. Thriveworks Marietta offers counseling for blended families, and we are ready to help. When you call our office, your first appointment may be the following day. Let’s get started. Call today to work with a counselor or psychologist.