The Opportunities of a Blended Family: Turning Lemons into Lemonade
There is nothing easy about blending two families together. If there are kids involved, we don’t have the honeymoon period after the wedding to get to know each other. We say, “I do”, and BOOM—instant family. We are thrust into a new family with baggage, diverse personalities, and little time to keep the romance alive.
Are we doomed from the beginning? We can turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade. It all depends on our approach and expectations.
Blended families certainly have challenges, but they also provide unique opportunities for every member of the new family. Here are some:
- Two Parents. Many times, children of divorce live in single-parent families. Mom has to be both mom and dad. This puts strain on parents as well as children. Blended families allow children to experience parents working together as partners. It also gives children both male and female role models. With two parents, discipline can be more balanced. Mom now has another adult to support her disciplinary measures and relieve some of the pressure.
- Additional Siblings. A blended family can provide that “only child” a new brother or sister. This gives him a playmate and life-long friend. For children that already have siblings, blended families provide additional opportunities to develop social skills with people around their own age.
- Diversity. Blended families are diverse in many ways. Individuals contribute their different backgrounds, personalities, and experiences to the family. These provide opportunities to learn from each other. If the two families are ethnically diverse, the opportunities are multiplied.
- Conflict Resolution Skills. Chances are that the previous family did not adequately learn how to resolve arguments or disagreements. A new family provides new opportunities to work together and develop conflict resolution skills.
- Peace. People that come from families that dissolved may be suffering from broken relationships, pain, and a loss of security. Blended families provide a fresh start. They can foster healing and hope. Parents need to communicate to children that they are committed to their family forever—then act like it.
A blended family can turn lemons into lemonade. It takes intentional work, time, and patience, but the results offer dividends that last a lifetime!