New Reality: What You Need to Know About Blended Families

📌 This post is brought to you by Rebekka, author of the blog Pinecanvas. Rebekka is a blogger driven by dreams. She likes to inspire and motivate others to chase their dreams by sharing her journey in her blog.

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Blended Families: A New Family Reality

The blended family is a rather new form of family. 

For a bystander, it might look like a really confusing way to live. One could say that people are just making their lives difficult by choice. But that isn’t always the case. No one plans to start a blended family.

Whenever two people fall in love and start a family, they at least believe it’s forever. Life changes though. Sometimes that means growing apart, and breaking up becomes the best for everyone. This doesn’t mean that people with kids should be doomed alone for the rest of their life or that falling in love again is hardly a choice. 

Once it was almost unthinkable for families to break up and start a new family. And when it did happen, it often meant that all ties were cut. The more break-up hurt parents, the less they wanted to interact with each other afterwards. The kid would stay with one parent and the other one would leave. 

Times have changed a lot. We have come to understand that we shouldn’t be living together as just a facade. That hurts kids the most. 

Kids Pick Up Tension

When a relationship changes, kids pick up on that. They can feel the tension between parents, even if they can’t put a name on it. They feel it. 

There isn’t a thing about “fighting in secret” with kids involved. Kids know. The unsettling feeling they can’t put a name on will make them act out, which ultimately will make things worse. But it’s not the kid’s fault, they don’t know better.

So talk with them, explain to them what is going on, but don’t blame anyone. Don’t make them pick a side. If you are having rough times, but trying to work it out, tell them that. 

Remind them that whatever is going on between you, you both still love them and it’s not their fault. Even if you fight about kids or parenting styles. It’s not the kids’ fault that you two disagree. Never.

Guest in a Stranger’s House

My mom and biological father split when I was little, way before I remember. So for me, he was never there. I had my mom and honestly don’t remember missing him ever. 

When my biological father started a new family, for some reason he suddenly tried to reach out to me. He had a son with a new wife and wanted us to meet. So I ended up visiting a few times.

When I visited them as a kid, I never felt like part of the family there. I felt like I was a guest in a stranger’s house. Alone. And I didn’t have a chance to text or call mom to say that I missed her and I didn’t want to be there. 

I would only count the days until I could get back home. I guess they tried, but no one knew how to explain things to pre-schoolers, and what was going on. I was glad when I got home and really happy once my mom didn’t make me go back there again. 

If they had started slower with shorter meetings so we all could get to know each other it would have been easier. I would have felt better while visiting.

Kids are programmed to love and respect their parents by nature. Either I am faulty, or this is wrong. I don’t feel guilty about it though. He was the grown up and it was his duty to get to know me and be a father. To make me feel part of his family. To make me feel that he is my father. 

He didn’t. He didn’t even bother to learn how to spell my name! As far as I know, he still hasn’t over 30 years later. I have always been proud of my name and its simple yet unique spelling. I do take it as an insult when people misspell it. It’s forgiven for acquaintances and strangers, but not for family and close friends. Sorry, not sorry.

My Home Invaded by a Stranger

My mom was a young and beautiful woman. She found a new partner. But for me as a kid, my home was invaded by a stranger who decided to play father and boss me around. 

I acted out. I showed my dissatisfaction in any way I knew and mostly got in trouble for that. At that time, I couldn’t understand why we would need another person there. We were fine! Time passed and I got a baby sister, she was so little and fragile – one of us. Now there were 3 of us and it made sense, but only us three.

A few years later came around the man I started to consider a father figure. Although the beginning wasn’t smooth, he did something different. He didn’t try to be a father from a start. He was just there and tried to get to know me. Of course, it changed over time. I got used to him and even saw the benefits of him being around. But it took time.

After a while, whenever the topic of fatherhood arose, I always thought of him. He was there when I was hurt, needed help, and struggled with my homework. He taught me to protect myself and cared enough to listen and talk with me.

And for me it didn’t matter what some paper said; he was my father.

In next week’s post, we will look deeper into how you can cope and promote bonding in this new family reality. We will look into how to address feelings, what mistakes to avoid, and how to make everyone more comfortable within the family.

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26 Comments

  1. Rea says:

    What an open post about the child’s perspective in these situations, I really can’t wait to read your next post on bonding amongst blended families.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PineCanvas says:

      Thank you, I am glad you liked it and took the time to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Rea. I agree, this was a great piece from pinecanvas.com, it really taps into the experience of a child which sometimes is underlooked. Thanks for coming by ❤️

      Like

  2. I absolutely love this perspective. We never really see how kids feel about things like this. My BFF, now in her late 20’s often shares her experience of knowing the tension between parents + how sometimes, it’s better to be apart however I don’t hear much about the approach of another partner coming into the house. Never thought of this. Sharing with her now 🤎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pinecanvas says:

      That’s true. Adults tend to presume that kids will and have to adapt to their needs and forgetting that kids are humans also. Often adults are over the heals in love and unable to grasp that not everyone are in their pink happy bubble.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you for sharing, my love. This was really a treasure from pinecanvas.com, it offers us a unique perspective into a child’s perception of moving into a blended family. I hope your friend finds some perspective with this ❤️

      Like

  3. zacthrav says:

    Wow, what a beautifully put together post. I love how honest you are, and also the positive language. When I split from my wife my children were 5 and 2. You can never split on good terms really, but we tried to make it work and put the children first, and leave blame at the door. Of course it is hard, but we carried on as a mother and father, and that relationship has never faltered. Now, 14 years later, we are strong and supportive of each other and I think the children see us still as a strong family unit that are always there when needed. There always is another way, however, splitting up is stressful for everyone, and sometimes the adults become the ones who behave more like children. I look forward to reading more, as it hs brought up so many things for me, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pinecanvas says:

      Thank you, I did try to keep a positive vibe though the topic isn’t very cheerful topic.
      I am glad to read that you tried and managed to work out the parenting with the breakup. And I couldn’t agree more about adults sometimes becoming children in their actions.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much for your feedback and shared experience, Zac. It’s sad, difficult and stressful to part ways, especially so when children are involved. I can only imagine. It’s nice to know you both carried on focusing on your parenting roles and today are supportive of each other 🙏

      Like

  4. Riyah Speaks says:

    This is such an interesting post on the child’s perspective. I can definitely relate to some of the sentiment as someone who grew up in a blended family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pinecanva says:

      Thank you, I do feel like there should be more information on the subject through children’s eyes. I guess the first generation of kids going through this is just becoming into adulthood and gaining the ability to share and reflect on this experience with the world.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for sharing with us, Riyah. I appreciate your input 🙏

      Like

  5. This is a really open and honest post from a different perspective. Thank you for sharing your post.

    Lauren

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for these kind words 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you for reading and commenting, Lauren 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have some friends who grew up in blended families. I always thought it’s complicated for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pinecanvas says:

      It can be, and it mostly depends on adults is there more con’s or pro’s. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, it must be confusing, I can only imagine, especially when it happens at an early age. I hope you friends found ways to cope with their new reality 🙏

      Like

  7. Benny says:

    This post made me realize all the different dimensions at play when a family splits up and when another come together. The honesty displayed by Rebekka was great to read. To learn about her experiences and how she lived it was great to read. Thank your for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pinecanvas says:

      The kid part is often overlooked, thinking they are just along for the ride. But there is hope, society has already understood that kids get hurt with breakups too, so hopefully, it’s just one step forward to understanding they are affected by new relationships too.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for reading, Benny. I felt the same about Rebekka’s post. She really tapped into aspects that need to be shared and talked about more often. Very kind and brave of her for educating us about this reality 🙏

      Like

  8. ronbus83gmailcom says:

    The openness and ability to authentically narrate that is admired. With children yes by acting out they are really trying to communicate those negative feelings and emotions they are sitting with. Glad you highlight their feelings because trauma can continue if not addressed, thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pinecanvas says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I do hope we will acknowledge kids and their feelings more, and help them to understand these feelings better instead of telling them lines like “you are just a kid, you don’t know anything about feeling like that”. Yes, they don’t know – but they do feel.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Ron, your insights are truly precious. Unresolved emotions and experiences such as this are often translated into behaviour and adaptation problems across different areas of life. I’m very grateful that Rebekka took the time and heart to educate us all about this reality 🙏 Thank you for reading and sharing your perspective ❤️

      Like

  9. Cassie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Blended families are more of a reality than traditional/ nuclear families are these days. The non-traditional look of family is fast overtaking traditional. Family dynamics can be tricky and touchy, especially for the kids caught up in the drama created by adults. I think in these instances, adults are overwhelmed with the emotion and act out like kids, often forgetting that it’s their job to help their children navigate the new normal. Hearing about how this affected Rebekka as a kid and how it colored and shaped her view of fatherhood was enlightening. Thank you for sharing on a topic that I think all of us are familiar with in one way or another.

    ~ Cassie

    Like

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