According to Wikipedia; a stepfamily or blended family is a family where one parent has children that are not genetically related to the other parent. Either one or both parents may have children from a previous relationship. Children from a stepfamily may live with one biological parent and visit their other biological parent, or they may live with each biological parent for a period of time.
The traditional and strictest definition of a “stepfamily” is a married couple where one or both members of the couple have pre-existing children who live with them.
A stepfather is the husband of one’s mother and not one’s natural father. A stepmother is the wife of one’s father and not one’s natural mother. Similarly, a step-brother is the son of a step-parent who one is not biologically related to. A step-sister is the daughter of a step-parent who one is not biologically related to. A parent’s spouse of the same sex could also count as a step-parent. (Wikipedia)
The values of families differ from one to another, so if you find yourself in a stepfamily situation you would agree with me that the values of the different families involved in a stepfamily would differ from one another which would require some form of integration from either family to easily blend into the newly created family (stepfamily). The new environment, culture, personality and home you find yourself to a large extent would differ from the one you have been used to. You may have been used to a particular way of life while the other party may be used to a different way of life. Interestingly, either way may be the right approach to life. This difference forms the basis for this article; “Change of Roles”. As simple as it sounds, there are complexities of roles in stepfamilies. It may be nutty for some families, problematic for some but easy to handle for some others. Yet it may be catastrophic for another category of stepfamilies.
This article intends to look at the interpretations the receiving families and the individual going into another family gives it. We shall also look at how best to deal with the diverted views that are highlighted below.
The receiving Family
1. May perceive the individual/people coming into the family as awkward.
2. May feel the individual/people are deliberately mischievous.
3. May feel the individual/people has plans to disrupt the family the same way their original family was disrupted.
4. May feel a sense of uncertainty about the genuineness of motive.
5. May have fear of negative influence on their biological children.
The Individual/People Joining New Family
1. Uncertainty about the genuineness of love to be experienced.
2. The fear of a repeat performance of issues that caused separation from the original family.
3. Transfer of hurts or pain from the previous family into the new one.
4. Wrong mindset/understanding of true family value(s) due to the ugly experience from the previous family.
5. Tendency to be secretive due to distrust.
6. Perception of being treated with less dignity and respect relative to the previous family.
The exciting thing about this whole arrangement is that; each party has to be aware of these tendencies in order to exhibit sensitivity towards one another. The understanding both parties have will help in the management of the changes in roles caused by the movement from one family to another.
DEALING WITH IT
1. Build trust. Trust rests on openness and understanding. If this is missing, the changes in the new family will be misinterpreted. But when transparency is allowed, intents will be seen from a positive standpoint. There might possibly be a bit of friction, but because of the open mindedness, this will be resolved in a short while.
2. Against all suspicions, chose to believe the best about the other members of the family. This belief would be based on trust. Trust is like the ladder that takes you to the point of belief. When belief in the other members of the family is in place, it helps you overlook trivial matters that could possibly cause disagreement between you and the other parties.
3. It is better not to accept an individual into your family if the person’s presence in the family would cause misery or upheaval. The fact is, not everybody has the ability to manage a step family. If you find yourself in this category, then it is advisable not to get involved in it in the first place. It would be better you are not involved than getting involved and allowing it to destroy your family.
4. Have an understanding that this is an opportunity to help rescue another life that may be going through hurt. Another perspective you should have is that your family is privileged to bring healing to those hurting as a result of separation from their original families. The hurting experience due to separation from the previous family can be curbed by your family.
5. Understand that what you make happen for another, God would make happen for you in a greater measure. The life we live in has an interesting way of pressing a repeat button in our future to a greater measure or degree of what we have done for someone in previous months or years. This is another antidote to friction that could possibly be generated.
The fact remains that whether biological or step families, there are unique challenges in both cases. The success of “Change of Roles” in step families will require high level of maturity, understanding, sensitivity, empathy, openness, and tolerance.
For more enquiry or contribution(s), please contact;
Dolor aliquet augue augue sit magnis, magna aenean aenean et! Et tempor, facilisis cursus turpis tempor odio. Diam lorem auctor sit, a a? Lundium placerat mus massa nunc habitasse, arcu, etiam pulvinar.