As we get older stats on marriage and divorce become a little more relevant and can be kind of depressing. Some sources have the divorce rate for a first marriage around 42 to 49% and closer to 67% for the second and a womping 74% for a third. With the statistics that high, for a single mother, the likelihood of meeting a man with a child (especially over 30) is probably hovering around 80%.
Now that we’ve disclosed the above; I do hope that I haven’t discouraged those ladies that are in relationships and leaning towards marriage from moving forward. You’ve met this wonderful man and he just happens to have a child and you have one too! I’m sure you remember the Brady Bunch; while Carol and Michael Brady seemed to be able to take their six children and make this perfect equation work just fine, our lives aren’t a sitcom. When you choose to remarry or marry into a family with children OR take your children into a new family know that the choices, prespectives and decisions will now affect more than just you.
I conducted a brief survey with a man and a woman to see how they looked at the idea of a blended family.
Q: What is your idea of a blended family?
W:Two people coming together with children from a previous relationship.
M: Kids from previous relationships trying to come together and make one family.
Q: What role do you think the step-parent plays in making this work for all involved?
W: My role as a parent is to guide, nurture and protect. Therefore, in the blended family, I would support my spouses children in that way.
M: The step parent is vital in making it all come together. Knowing their boundaries, being comfortable with the kids, and allowing the kids to be comfortable with them.
Q: As far as discipline, who would handle that?
W: It would depend on the age of the children. However, as a general rule, we discuss it and implement the consequence together.
M: The biological parent should take the lead which helps with mending (no good cop, bad cop). However, by the same token it’s important to support each others decisions.
Q: What advice do you have for a couple with children considering marriage?
W: Communication and mutual respect is the key. Blend the family BEFORE marriage…
M: At some point in time all parties have to come together. There are going to be those that live in the home and the other children may only come every other weekend. It’s really important that the family does things together. And also allow the kids to build a relationship with each other.
Q: How would you incorporate the children into the wedding ceremony?
W: If my kids would be old enough to be in the wedding, I would give them a very important role.
M: Well, it depends on how old they are. Teenagers would stand up with the parents but if they are younger be sure to make it fun so they know this is “our” family.
Unlike the seemingly perfect blending of Mike and Carol Brady, there is no script on how to successfully raise a blended family. One thing I know we can agree on is that we want to raise healthy children, blended with love; while creating wonderful memories.