In 1987, when my husband and I brought together our kids from our previous marriages and, over time, added two sons of our own, we called ourselves a “stepfamily.” However, we never really liked that term. So, when the phrase “blended family” became popular in the mid 1990’s, we loved it. That term seemed to fit better with what we were trying to accomplish with our family of five uniquely different children, with uniquely different life experiences.
However, my counseling work with many of these parents has caused me to reconsider what it is we believe to be possible when we bring children from different unions together?
I recently went to my dictionary to attempt a deeper understanding of the disconnect that I am witnessing with these families. The definitions that I found for the word “blended” include: 1) to combine so that the separate constituents cannot be distinguished 2) to combine into an integrated whole 3) to produce a harmonious effect
Is it any wonder these parents feel challenged? Is it possible to “blend” children from vastly different beginnings, with what amounts to two (and sometimes four) complete sets of extended families and relationships such that the separate constituents cannot be distinguished, AND achieve an integrated whole that produces a harmonious effect???
Perhaps the most effective way to assist these parents would be to encourage them to recognizeand honor thedifferences that we desire to intertwine when we ask our children to embrace a life that has changed without their permission.