Law: Blended families face many challenges
Published 3:22 pm Saturday, June 28, 2014
QUESTION: I am considering re-marrying, which will mean living in one household with kids from two former families. Are we in for only headaches and heartache?
ANSWER: Blended families do face major challenges. However, there are significant strengths that come about when two families combine.
A remarriage represents a second chance for a long and satisfying relationship. The opportunity for a new beginning can increase a family’s chance for success, especially if adults have learned from their past experiences.
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The blended family can often free children from having to assume adult roles and responsibilities prematurely. The new marriage also lessens the tendency of a parent to turn to a child to meet emotional needs. Companionship, improved self-esteem and a sense of security benefit each family member.
The emotional climate of the home also contributes to a sense of well-being. In cases where there has been intense conflict or abuse in a former family, the new family may bring relief.
Previously married adults are more likely to discuss differences before marriage. They are more aware of the necessity of accepting differences in others and adjusting to each other’s habits, so family life can be more comfortable for everyone.
When stepparents are responsible, nurturing people, children learn to develop trusting relationships with a greater number of adults and are enriched by a new and extended family network. Some children can have healthy relationships with four sets of grandparents.
The financial limitations of single-parent families can be a major problem today. Many times the blended family improves the financial situation for children, especially if some expenses can be combined and/or there are two incomes.
Above all, when parents remarry successfully, they give their children the optimistic view that in spite of adjustments and difficulties, building a strong marriage and family can be worth all the effort.
If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 1-877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesand communities.org and Stepfamily Realities (Margaret Newman) at the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street S.E., Austin)