- Competing relationships. Even if the kids are supportive of the union, there is still an underlying current of competition. In some cases, the kids are dead set against the new marriage and will work against the union. This causes heartache with the parents who just want to be in love and live in peace.
- Baggage from the past. Whether the single parent has lost a spouse, never been married or experienced divorce, the emotional pain from the loss of previous relationship bears down on the new marriage.
- Being a step-parent is all the work of parenting, with very little of the joy.
- All the hard stuff of a traditional marriage is still there too.
It sounds like a bummer. Creating a blended family is infinitely more difficult than a traditional family. However, a very wise grandma once said, “it will work if you want it to work”. She wasn’t a scholar or a counselor. She was a woman who successfully blended a family of 8 kids in the midst of complete chaos. There is a different set of expectations that comes with blending families, but the one unchangeable expectation is that it takes two parents who are committed to making it work.
- Be flexible. In all things. Your family won’t look like anyone else’s. Learn to be ok with that.
- Be patient. It takes 4-7 years to create a new normal for blended families.
- Be a learner. Choose to learn more about the art of blending families and potentially see a counselor that specializes in the complexities of blended families. There is a series of books Ron L Deal that specifically addresses blended family issues. You can find them on Amazon.com.