ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice

Stepfamily, a Growing Concern

Updated on May 13, 2009
Family Matters
Family Matters
Nuclear Family
Nuclear Family

Challenges of a Blended Family

The blended family had become more popular than the traditional nuclear family. Today about 24% of the American population comprise of the nuclear family as oppose to 40% in 1970. (Wikipedia) The divorce rate in North America is about 50%. This means that the blended families will continue to grow as more people get divorced and remarried. According to the Census Bureau, by 2010 the blended family will become the dominant family structure in the US

Today's women on average get married for the first time in their mid twenties to early thirties. Statistics of Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark show that the average age of women's first marriage is usually thirty years old and men 32 years old. For North America, the average age of first marriage is between 25 and 28 for women and 27 and 29 for men. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_age_at_fir_mar_for_wom-people-age-first-marriage-women

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age of women getting divorced for the first time is 33. The average age for women getting divorced from a second marriage is 39. As the median age between re-marriage, i.e. second marriage is 3.5 years, this means that a women will be in her second marriage by the age of 37 and a man at the age of 42. This means that both are both still within the childbearing age range, and so having children together is highly likely. They are also likely to bring children to the new marriage.

The blended families phenomenon is growing as about 65% of remarriages involve children.(US Census Bureau) The Bureau states that 2/3 of all remarried women and 23% of children will cohabit as stepfamilies.

The blended family has to deal with the realities of merging two families. This is sometimes challenging as values and parenting styles collide. Children are usually caught up in this collision of biological parents and stepmother/father. Coordinating holidays and vacations can become a huge undertaking. Small details can become very complicated, especially, if the exes are still feuding. One parent may undermine agreements with another, thus creating confusion and changes in previously arranged plans.

My personal experience confirm some of the statistics and trends. My husband and I were divorced for an average of ten years. This is our second marriage. He came into the second marriage with two teenage daughters and I with a teenage daughter. Raising teenage girls is difficult without the baggage of a stepfamily. The differences in our parenting styles were major challenges because we had opposing expectations of the children.

I am very involved with my daughter since I had been a single mother for over ten years. My daughter and I had open communication and even though I allowed some independence, I expect to know where she was always. She had a curfew of 11pm and had to call to let me know if she was going to stay out later. She was expected to respect and participate in family obligations. This does not mean that she was an angel, of course, she was a teenager, with normal reactions.

My husband, on the other hand, was very much hands off. He did not set a curfew for his children; they could stay out as late as they please. He did not demand that they respect family obligations. This is not to say that they were dispespectful, they just had other priorities. Initially these differences in expectations were the bases of many conflicts. Gradually, we learnt to respect each others style.

Raising a six years old son together has enabled us to utilize our different parenting approaches. We have to constantly work at our parenting skills so that we do not undermine each other. In our family, it would appear that my son is the bridge that blends the family together. From time to time the children have commented on the differences or similarities with their upbringing as compared to their brother. When all is said, they respect and love each other and that's all that a family can expect.

Stepmothers historically do not have a positive image and so that can put some stress on the relationship with stepchildren; stepmothers sometimes find it difficult to decide whether they should be a friend or a parent .The role of a stepfather to teenagers or young adults can be very strained; as stepfather struggles to balance being a disciplinarian or a cool "yes man". It is uncharted territory as biological mother and father,stepmother, stepfather, and stepchildren compromise in the interest of each other. There are no easy answers or solutions as each case is unique and require specific considerations.

I love all my children; biological and step, and would not trade them for anyone else. Even though it continues to be a struggle as personalities clash over the smallest of issues, patience is a virtue. Respect, support and understanding are attributes that allow for a workable relationship in a blended family.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      MistyArlington 2 years ago

      You are right, blended families are much more common than they ever have been since the divorce rate is so high. I grew up in a blended family and me and my husband are a blended family as well. I wouldn't trade any of them for the world :)

    • profile image

      comit 5 years ago

      This type of family is very important at least all our because with out families how would you think we would a make it out in life.In your family you are looking for some to care for you and love you for who you are.

    • DynamicS profile image
      Author

      Sandria Green-Stewart 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      C.E. Grant, thanks for your visit and your comments. Step/blended family is a growing concern worldwide. You're right some thoughts must be put into the subject.

      I consider myself a part of that social laboratory. I continue to learn from the experience. Fortunately or maybe not, my stepchildren are grown and so they have a clear idea of their expectations from me. While I some ideas of my role, I let them lead the way in regards to the relation with me. They know that I love and respect them.

      I find that the challenge in a blended family is the adult relationship. Overcoming differences in parenting styles can become problematic.

      Maybe I'll take your challenge and write a post about reconciling differences of opinions in a blended family.

      Thanks.

    • C.E. Grant profile image

      C.E. Grant 7 years ago from StepLand's Sunny Side

      Dear DynamicS:

      This is an exceptionally well-thought-through hub, & I appreciate your viewpoint, especially since it comes from experience!

      As an active advocate & authour in the field of step/blended family dynamics, I whole-heartedly enjoy your work & look forward to more that you have to say on this subject in future.

      More voices of peace & understanding in this arena will make the future of blended/step families much, much brighter.

      Keep writing!

      Warm regards...C.E. Grant

    • profile image

      Dynamics 8 years ago

      fastfreta, thanks for your kind words. I appreciate your feedback about stepfamily. You are so kind...

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Very well written and researched hub. You seem to have the situation well in hand, bravo. Keep up the good work, with all that you are doing, including writing these wonderful hubs.

    • DynamicS profile image
      Author

      Sandria Green-Stewart 9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Frogdropping, thanks for your comment. You are right, the younger the children, the more challenges that a family has to deal with and for longer period of time. And yes harmony does require a lot of work; overlooking the small things and choosing your battle.

      I take it that you are up to the challenge.

      Take care.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 9 years ago

      Dynamic - thought provoking. I'm kinda sorta going through the blended family stuff. Mine are grown, OH has one, 12yo. Not quite the same as a combined family with younglings but still.

      I can imagine you've had to work a bit harder to create harmony. Nicely hubbed, rated up :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)