Blended Families - New Roles = New Rules
What happens when you become a blended family? For the adults forming this new family, it seems like the best thing to happen to you. You have fallen in love again and this new person in your life is hope for a new future, a new family life, and to be a support as you move through parenting. The changes that you go through are ones that you have chosen and that you look forward to. As you accept the new roles that you have willingly taken on you are open to the new rules that these new roles require.
For the children though it is very different. They do not have a choice. These changes are massive and can be very traumatic. First, there are all of the events that happen during the lead up to their parents’ divorce. I know that I did not talk with my children about what was happening between their mother and I. Then when their parents are living separately as single parents and finally the major changes that happen when one or both parents remarry. In each of these phases there are new roles that the children have to navigate.
Think about it from the child’s view. All this stuff is happening to them and around them but usually nobody is explaining it to them, and even if someone did, they may not have the words nor the understanding to be able to process it. My second youngest stepdaughter was 2 when her dad left, but it was not until she was 15 that she was able to put words to what she felt.
In the space of 1 year my daughters went from having single parents (my ex-wife and I) to having two stepfamilies, each with a stepparent, step grandparents, step siblings, step cousins, step uncles and aunts… you get the picture. Each of these steps bring a new role for the child… and new rules about how to deal with these roles.
This means huge changes for the children. Changes can be overwhelming and be traumatic. The overwhelm and trauma can come out in various unwanted behaviours.
As Blended Family coaches we have gone through most of the challenges facing blended families and more specifically with the issues children face.
Our website is www.fusefamilyfocus.com