The Problems Facing Blended Families In previous generations, families did not seem to have to face as many issues; divorce was unusual. Today, families face many challenges. Those challenges have caused divorce rates to climb in the United States. The good news is, most divorced people end up getting remarried, and it is usually to someone who has children of their own. These families are called stepfamilies or blended families. While the blended family may some have advantages, many times, they find themselves facing major problems.
The major problems facing blended families today are getting married too soon, stepsibling rivalries, and issues caused by noncustodial parents. One problem that blended families face is when the parents get remarried too soon. Whether it is the need for companionship or financial hardship, the choice of when to get remarried needs to be carefully considered. Far too often, new spouses have “unresolved issues” from previous marriages (“Stepfamilies”).
These emotional issues may be severe enough that “proper counseling or therapy” should be sought out (Pino). Another reason couples get remarried too soon is inadequate finances. By moving in together they can cut costs but the sudden lack of privacy or the new stepchildren can quickly cause problems in the new marriage. The decision to get remarried should be made after all of the issues are understood. Blended families also have to deal with the problems associated with sibling rivalry.
According to Kutner, “The teasing, tattling and tussles that routinely mark sibling rivalry can become a special problem for blended families. ” These new behaviors may come as a shock to parents because their children have never acted in this way before. Sometimes children get used to being the center of attention when they live with just a single parent. “Suddenly, children have to share toys, clothes, and bedrooms with their new stepsiblings” (Kutner). These children, often times, act out in resentment of their new stepsiblings.
When parents remarry birth orders can get mixed up. For instance, children who were the oldest before could end up being in the middle; they can feel overlooked or left out. The relationships with the noncustodial parents or ex-spouses can also cause problems in blended families. “Stepfamilies” explains, “Ex-spouses who were reasonable and cooperative before remarriage may become obstructionistic and uncommunicative. ” If the prior marriage ended badly, that anger can be unintentionally turned on the new spouse.
Another issue with noncustodial parents is that they can be very critical or jealous of the new stepparent. Items such as discipline or living conditions can become heated topics of discussion because the noncustodial parent can become overprotective. Likewise, children have a sense of loyalty to their birth parents and can act out in defense of them. Without a doubt, each blended family will face a unique set of issues and problems. Careful consideration should be given to each issue prior to families deciding to come together.
Getting remarried too soon, sibling rivalries, and noncustodial parents cause major problems for blended families. ? Works Cited “Stepfamilies Have Added Pressure of More Parents. ” Hays Daily News. 18 Oct. 2005: n. p. Access WorldNews. Web. 10 Aug. 2010. Kutner, Lawrence. “In Blended Families, Rivalries Intensify. ” New York Times. 5 Jan. 1989. ProQuest. Web. 8 Aug. 2010. Pino, Christopher J. “You Can End the ‘Step-Wars’ with Peaceful Step Treaties. ” Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter. 12. 9 (1996): n. p. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Jan. 2010.