The Challenges of Blended Families

by stacie on November 25, 2020

As a once-divorced woman with a twelve-teen that now has a new husband and a new baby, I can tell you firsthand that blended families can be challenging.

Very challenging.

Many of us remember The Brady Bunch and their wonderful portrayal of the blended family…for the most part, everyone got along wonderfully and mom and dad never had a problem parenting the others’ kids.

But that’s not really how it works in real life. I mean, not most of the time. Some people are extremely fortunate to be able to get the kinks ironed out immediately. But, just for the sake of argument, let’s say you don’t. Let’s say you’re considering bringing someone else into the picture with your own children. What are some of the things you can expect?

Disagreements with your ex. Again, maybe not. But out of everyone I’ve talked to, this is a biggie — and it happens frequently. From small things like, “why is your new boyfriend driving our kid to school?” to “I think it’s too soon for you to introduce our child to someone else.” Many parents, male and female, have difficulty accepting a new adult that comes into their child’s lives and it is often a result of fear that the child will prefer the new person.

Trouble “letting go.” This is just a personal opinion, but I think it’s harder for a mother to let a new man parent her child than for a dad to let a new woman parent his. Again, personal opinion only here. I’m still having trouble with this, and my husband and I have now been together a total of 8 years. I think as women we often carry guilt over a divorce — even if it was the right thing to do. As such, we can sometimes feel slightly more protective of our kids.

Disapproval from your family. I did not have this problem with my parents, or even my grandfather for that matter. But my grandmother? Woo-hee. She was on FIRE when I started dating someone new. And she didn’t hide her disapproval either. Since we had previously been so close, this was probably one of the biggest challenges for me. After a few years, she finally came around, and now she loves the hubs — but it was a long road to get here.

To have more kids or not? If you end up with someone that doesn’t already have children, there may come a time that they want their own biological children. I was lucky in the sense that I still wanted another baby — but my better half wasn’t really ready until a few years ago. And before that, he wasn’t sure he’d ever want to go through the baby stage. It’s something to seriously consider as a woman. On top of it, if you do decide to have more children, you have to consider the kids you already have. Again, I was lucky in the sense that our oldest really wanted a sibling. But if she hadn’t? I’m not sure what we would have done.

Differences in parenting styles. Chances are, you’ll parent differently whether you’re a blended family or not. In general, men and women are just different when it comes to that. But you need to be sure you have, at the very least, the same values when it comes to parenting. Are the same things big no-nos for both of you? Do you both agree on which punishments fit the crime?

And please don’t read this to mean that blended families are a bad thing, because I certainly don’t feel that way. If I did, I wouldn’t be in the wonderful position I am now. But know that it’s not always easy. And know that there will be times that you’ll ask yourself if it is indeed worth it.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie C. November 25, 2020 at 2:20 pm

I think your post is insightful and timely with the holidays upon us. Having a logical, unemotional conversation with the significant other in your life about blending your families needs serious discussion and respect on both sides.

Adventures In Babywearing November 27, 2020 at 6:14 pm

I’ve watched close friends balancing their blended family and it of course comes with struggles but can be an amazing thing when both parents are still friends.

Steph

Jenny L November 28, 2020 at 12:05 am

It’s not a bad thing, blended families, but it sure is a challenge. Thank you for making that a topic we can discuss out in the open. A woman with children still deserves her happiness. how to make that happen is the big question.

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