Astepfamilyorblended familyis 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.
A stepfather is the husband of one’s mother and not one’s natural father.A stepmother is one’s father’s wife 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)
Every family has its own challenges. No family is immune to challenges. Anybody or family that thinks otherwise is not yet awaken to the truth. These challenges do not exclude ‘step families’ as well. This is to simply highlight the uniqueness of different families and to provide information that will help anyone in similar situation.
These series intend to first establish the need for useful information and also to highlight the possible problems that could arise if information is not well managed. The possible challenges of stepfamilies will form the basis of these series. Each of these potential problems will be looked at critically as well as the possible way(s) out of these problems or prevention of reoccurrence of such problems.
The possible challenges of ‘stepfamilies’ will be the major focus here. Some might ask, why the need for this? I observed that stepfamilies exist in all the nations of the world. Scientific research and statistical data in some nations have proven this although some developing nations do not have such data to support this claim. But the truth is that it exists, if not in a bigger scale in the developing nations. However, I observed that it is tackled legally in the developed nations while in most developing nations; culture and tradition permit polygamy which makes it difficult for such to be really captured and thus scientific proof becomes a mirage. The bottom line is the issue of stepfamilies is widespread.
I would like to borrow from the statistics I got from spotlight statistic with references from
David H. Olson, PhD. and Amy Olson-Sigg. (www.prepare-enrich.com.)
How Prevalent are Stepfamilies?
• 40% of married couples with children (i.e., families) in the US are step couples (at least one partner had a child from a previous relationship before marriage; this includes full and part-time residential stepfamilies and those with children under and/or over the age of 18). The percentage of all married couple households is 35%. (Karney, Garvan, & Thomas, 2003)
• Approximately one-third of all weddings in America today form stepfamilies (demographic estimate, Deal). In 2001, 38% of all US marriages were remarriages for one or both partners (15% for both; 23% for one) (Wendy Manning, personal communication Jan 2010, National Center for Family and Marriage Research).
Pew Research Report on Stepfamilies:
A new national report (Parker, 2011) by the Pew Research Center on adults in America updates the national statistics on stepfamilies for the first time in a decade. These statistics are on adults and do not include children.
• 42% of adults have a step relationship–either a step parent, a step or half sibling, or a step child. This translates to 95.5 million adults.
• 13% of adults are stepparents (29-30 million); 15% of men are stepdads (16.5 million) and 12% of women are stepmoms (14 million). NOTE: This is only of stepmothers (married or cohabiting) of children under the age of 18 and does not include stepmothers of adult stepchildren. Adding those women could double the estimate to 22-36 million. The same could be said of stepdads.
Other Notable Statistics:
• There are 35 million Americans in the US today who are remarried. There are an additional 36 million Americans who are divorced or widowed (possibly finding themselves in a remarriage at some point) (US Census, 2007).
• One-third of individuals who got divorced in 2008 were re-divorcing, that is, divorcing again (Wendy Manning, personal communication Jan 2010, National Center for Family and Marriage Research).
• Serial transitions in and out of marriage/divorce/cohabitation are now typical of family life in the US but have significant consequences for children (Cherlin, 2009).
1. Americans marry, divorce, and cohabit more than any Western society. They also start and stop relationships more quickly.
2. Children living with two married parents in the US have a higher risk of experiencing a family breakup than do children living with two unmarried parents in Sweden.
3. 10% of women in the US have had three or more marriages, divorces, or cohabiting partners…by age 35 (the next highest industrialized nation is Sweden at 4.5%).
4. 16% of persons born after 1970 will marry, divorce, remarry, and re-divorce.
5. By age 15, 29% of US children experience two or more mother partnerships (either marriage or cohabitation).
6. The more parental partnerships (transitions in and out of couple relationships) that children experience, the lower their over-all emotional, psychological, and academic well-being.
Please bear it in mind that these series is not about America, it just helped the background on which we can see what goes on in the world, not limited to America alone. In most developing nations, polygamy contributes largely to stepfamilies. The percentages we have in the developing nations are more than what has been reported, which has been due to poor documentation. I feel strongly that adequate information need to be made available for stepfamilies because I have seen a number of scores of how it destroys relationships among parents and children. Having right information and understanding the implication of the actions you take in a stepfamily relationship will help in your decision making. The decisions will either further expand the stepfamily trend or help you put a closure to it. The more the expansion, the more likely the problems to be experienced among parents or/and children.
Kindly follow from the next post as we narrow down on the possible problems that stem from stepfamilies and the best possible ways to deal with these problems.
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