In the late 1960s, The Brady Bunch showed American that second chances can be beautiful. Carol moved her three girls into Mike’s home with his three boys, and the iconic blended family was born. The Bradys were one of the first TV families to show that family does not have to fit the mold. Families can come in any shape and size. The Bradys had a nearly-perfect home (and the advantage of having all their problems solved within a 30-minute TV episode), but they also faced serious challenges. The kids struggled to accept a new parent. Carol and Mike struggled with how to parent new children. Birth order was disturbed, and new sibling rivalries were sparked. And yet, the Bradys built a home where everyone was loved and accepted. In this way, their experiencing were not so different than other blended families: there are many challenges for also many benefits when two families come together under one roof. More and more, blended families are going to counseling together to overcome those challenge and maximize the benefits of being one, big, happy family.
“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.”
Being in a blended family is all about establishing healthy relationships, and there are a lot of relationships to establish: between siblings, parent to child and child to parent, with the ex’s, and within the couple—just to name a few. Setting up even one of those relationships is tough, but blended families are forging these connections all at the same time. Like most challenges, when blended families work through difficulty, they often find the opportunity. Blended families can be homes will deep resilience and love grow, and no one has to face the difficulties alone. Blended family counseling is often a resource and a place where new families can receive the support they need to build the family they want.
Thriveworks Richmond offers blended family therapy because we know that many challenges can hold blended families back. But we also know that those challenges can be overcome.
What Do Blended Families Look Like?
There is no “correct” answer to this question, but there is also no “wrong” answer. Blended families come in every shape and every size. They are often filled with love and acceptance. They make room for imperfection, forgiveness, and second-chances. They also often make room for anyone and everyone who needs a home. Blended families can be…
- Divorced, broken-up, or separated parents who are now living in separate homes. They are both active in their parenting roles, and if they are dating or remarried, the new partner is not involved in the children’s lives.
- Remarried divorcees who both have children and will both be parenting all the children.
- A widowed parent who remarries. The new spouse does not have children, but is slowly moving into a parenting role.
- And the list can go on and on…
The US Census Bureau estimates that 1300 new blended families are formed every day and that half of the 60 million kids in the US who are 13 years-old and younger live in a blended home. Blended families, in all their beautiful diversity, are a growing population, and many are bumping up against common challenges as both the kids and the adults adjust to their new life together.
How Kids Acclimatize
Changes in a child’s life can be stressful, even if the changes are for the best. It is normal for kids to need time as they adjust to their new life because there is a lot to which they must acclimatize. One of their parents may have passed away or moved away. They may have to move into a new home or into a different room in their current home. Children may have new rules. Roles, or parenting styles within their home. All the while, kids can be feeling big emotions for the first time—grief, frustration, anger, and more. They may have behavioral problems as they adjust to their new life.
How Adults Acclimatize
Just as kids have to acclimatize to their new life, so do adults. Couples have a number of challenges. They are likely establishing their new marriage or their new relationship, but they also have to set the tone for all the relationships in the family. That means they need to clarify parenting roles. If a partner has never parented previously, then that means learning new social and emotional skills. That means establishing a relationship with each child, where they feel loved and accepted within the home. That means guiding and steadying sibling relationships. That also means dealing with ex’s and in-laws.
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks Richmond for Blended Families
The challenges for blended families are common, but so are the solutions. Many families press through the difficulty and reap the benefits of being one, big, happy home. If you are in the process of bringing two families together, know that help is available. Thriveworks Richmond offers counseling for blended families, and we have appointments available. When you call our office, your first appointment may be within 24 hours. We offer evening and weekend sessions, and we accept many insurance plans. Call today.