Two heads are better than one.
This old saying epitomizes only one of eight benefits of living as a blended family. A blended family is a single Mom with children partnering with a single Virginia Dad with children. Where one parent carried each household, now a Mom and a Dad shoulder the parenting burden together, with their kids under two wings instead of one.
What is a Blended Family?
The United States Census Bureau defines a blended family this way:
“The presence of a stepparent, stepsibling, or half sibling designates a family as blended.”
Virginians and most southerners are justly proud of their ability to navigate the myriad relationships in typical southern families: second cousins, first cousins once removed, aunts, nephews, uncles, and so on. Blended families add some new terms to the family tree:
- Stepchild — a child currently living in the household but not the offspring of one or the other household parent
- Stepsiblings — Stepsiblings share a parent, but that parent is the biological parent of one child and the stepparent of the other child
- Half siblings — These children share one biological parent
We also include “extended households,” in which a minor is living with a relative who is neither the child’s mother or father.
For most Virginians, most of this is nothing new; in the past, the children of two people in love would just relate to each other as brothers and sisters, with little concern for the niceties of named relationships.
However you view the arrangement, if you, with your kids in tow, and the woman you love, with her kids in tow, start living together, you have a blended family. The two adults can struggle, solve and celebrate together. You synergize. Two heads really are better than one!
Parental Happiness & More
Writers at Our Everyday Life offer four excellent reasons to tap into the power of a blended family:
- Parental Happiness — Happy Moms and Dads — on all levels (sexually, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) mean happy families
- Financial Support — Two incomes stretch better across a blended family than a single-parent income for one family
- Problem Solving — Children in blended families have little choice but to find solutions to problems in family dynamics
- Larger Extended Family — Ideally, the extended families behind each parent offer themselves as support to all the children in the blended family
Both partners have considerable influence over how well the blend works. Part of their job as blended Mom and blended Dad is to recruit each extended family (grandparents most significantly) to open their hearts to the whole group of children.
You are a Role Model
Say you are a single Virginia man struggling to raise two daughters on your own. You do your absolute best every day, but you just are not their mom, are you? Having a female role model in the blended family, or possibly other female children, can help your girls.
Apt Parenting points out this benefit and extends it to showing role models for all the children on how a loving couple behaves. Most Virginia parents would like their children to enter into relationships as teens and adults based on strong role models for:
- Treating members of the opposite sex with dignity and respect
- Demonstrating active listening skills
- Offering unconditional support for a partner’s goals and happiness
You can probably come up with dozens of other aspirations you have for your kids. Perhaps your own childhood was difficult, so you want them to have what you did not. That includes a secure family structure headed by two loving parents.
Blended Families May Mean Increased Honesty
Reader’s Digest highlights (or condenses, we suppose; it’s what they do) a major benefit of blended families: kids from the other parent are honest. Often brutally honest, puncturing family myths and misconceptions:
- “You’re not a collector, you’re a hoarder.”
- “A six-pack a night is not social drinking.”
- “You don’t need to yell at me to get my attention.”
- “You could stand to visit the gym a little more.”
- “You seem to favor the girls in this family over the boys.”
Your own children may have grown accustomed to your quirks or been trained by you to look past them.
If you have any delusions about your parenting style, your sense of fairness, or your own appearance, the kids from your partner will quickly provide some grounding.
Bringing in New Traditions
Perhaps one of the sweetest benefits of a blended family is illustrated by Southern Living, which focuses on the blended family’s decorated Christmas tree. It groans with inherited ornaments and sentimental favorites from two families. What a happy, homey thought!
When you have questions about the legal aspects of blended families, please contact us online or call The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184. We are family lawyers for men. Please let us help you make the most of your blended family.