The blended family is a new type of family structure and one that has only recently begun to be studied extensively. As this family structure becomes increasingly more common, people are learning more about how these families function and what effects the blended family has on all of its members.
Almost 2,100 blended families form in the United States everyday, according to The Bonded Family. A blended family, by definition, is a couple and their children from any previous relationships. The children may or may not always live with the couple, but will visit or be a part of their lives in some way. Another word for a blended family is a step family. Smart Stepfamilies states that over 29 million parents (13 percent) are also stepparents to other children.
Business Innovators Magazine predicts that the blended family will become the predominant family structure in the United States. This is mainly due to the fact that over 50 percent of first marriages and 75 percent of second marriages end in divorce, as reported by Total Life Counseling Center. Since most people do tend to remarry, the blended family becomes more and more common everyday. Over one million children experience the divorce of their parents each year, according to the Rebuilding Families website. Sixty-five percent of those children will end up in a blended family due to the remarriage of one or both biological parents remarrying, according to Help Guide.
The blended family is not without issues. In fact, children who live in a blended family are three times more likely to need psychological counseling or psychiatric care than other children, as reported by the World Village. They are also 50 percent more likely to develop health problems than children living with both biological parents, according to blended family statistics from World Village. Help Guide recommends waiting at least two years after a divorce to remarry and create a blended family in order to prevent some of the common problems, such as fighting with siblings and stepparent-child conflict, from occurring.
Things to Consider
Some other important points to remember about blended families are:
- Younger children tend to adapt and adjust better to a blended family than older children. An older child is more likely to be resentful of his newly-formed family or stepparent.
- The attitude of both parents plays a huge role in how the child will adjust to the blended family. Parents who demonstrate negativity or talk badly about the stepparent will make the transition more difficult for their children. When parents do this, children may feel they need to choose sides or keep loyalty to a biological parent.
- Many blended families report being happy and are able to make their unique situation work.
More Research Needed
As the blended family continues to become more prevalent, additional blended family statistics will become available. Since blended family numbers will continue to rise in the future as families divorce and remarry, it is important to study this family structure to learn the best ways to help those who are members of a blended family.