Blended family instant happiness a real crock

The mistaken belief that the merging of two families somehow automatically transforms them into one happy blended family is a crock! Or more specifically, blending a family is more of a crock-pot sort of thing. Building a blended family takes thought, planning, commitment, and patience. Just as throwing meats, vegetables, a few potatoes and some spices into a pot does not produce an immediately satisfying meal, throwing people with different backgrounds, belief systems, and loyalties, together does not produce an instant family. A step family, like a flavorful slow cooked meal, needs time to blend, to boil, and to simmer in order to completely meld flavors and enjoy the individual tastes, zest, and excitement of all the various ingredients.

Hoping for the perfect blended family

It makes no difference whether falling in love means there is hope for the future, or if having hope for the future encourages single parents to find new happiness; couples with children from previous relationships routinely fall in love, plan a wedding, and hope their blended family will be filled with comfort, affection and respect. They want to regain the chance for happiness they thought had been lost to them. But when their hope for the perfect blended family looks as if it will never happen, disillusionment sets in. And disillusionment without perspective can erode love.

Finding realistic expectations

When two families come together under one roof, there are going to be conflicts. However, step family members who learn to talk through conflicts by first trying to understand the feelings behind the issues find they have an easier time adjusting to the merger and learning to accept each other as individuals.

Hard times in a blended family

If you are having a difficult time gaining acceptance from your step kids, or vice versa, follow the lead of those successful blended family step parents who remind us that it takes time for a new family to build a history together that transforms from affection to familial love. Give yourself, and your blended family, time to cook. Because the complexities of blended family life can set you up for disillusionment, it is important to have realistic expectations. The blended family experience is complicated; how well we manage to maintain a healthy optimism depends on how well we understand the process of building a family.

Stepfamilies cook in a crock-pot, not a blender

Blenders mix ingredients together in a somewhat violent fashion, modifying their flavor and texture to combine them into a new form. Clearly, this is not what we want for the individuals in our families. Asking children to call a step parent Mom or Daddy does just that: it tries to force relationship between the two ingredients. This blender recipe often results in resentment and resistance from the step kids, because their first loyalty is to their biological parent living in the other home.

The best blended families cook slowly. Like stew in a crock-pot, ingredients are given time to share themselves, at their own pace. Some things just cannot be rushed.  Some studies show the average step family needs seven years to create a family identity, and some take longer. The diverse ingredients of your blended family will come together in time, given the right conditions. Trust the process.  For more help, consult The Blended and Step Family Resource Center- your source for Blended Family Advice.