Blended family is a popular term right now.
The term “blended” is helpful because it is more encompassing than stepfamily and can also refer to single parents, adoptive or fostered families.
However I’m not convinced that it gives an accurate or helpful impression. The word blended has aspirations attached to it which can imply a somewhat unrealistic aim to become completely harmoniously mixed, Brady Bunch style.
One in every three people will find themselves in a blended family at least once in their lifetime.
Anyone who has experience of being in such a family will tell you how difficult it can be at times. Even dating someone with children can be challenging, whether you’re a parent or not.
The key to success and happiness in a blended family is to be objective and honest.
Aim to keep your eye on the bigger picture when things get tough. You have chosen to be in this situation because you love your partner and want to be with them. You may not have chosen for them to have children or an ex partner. But if that is the reality of their life you have to be able to accept that and move forward. Equally if you have children of your own it is important to acknowledge that their relationship with your new partner will require time and effort to grow.
If you are truly able to live with the decision to be together, without resentment, most of the time, then a healthy way to view the years ahead is as potentially very rewarding and also sometimes challenging.
Create a vision of how you want your new family to be in 5, 10, 20 years’ time.
A blended family is not the same as a first family, it never will be, but it can be one made up of individuals who enjoy spending time together, love and support each other.
My next blog post is about creating a blended family.