Apparently there are about 80 Million step families in the US. These families deserve some major props. It is hard enough for two adults with different backgrounds to find compromise ground, learn each other’s love languages and how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict. At least they have a desire to understand each other’s past and forgive one another’s mistakes, to detach from negative influences and take a chance on a completely new life– all of these are major first steps, but then there is the added challenge a few little people with their own set of concerns and already established patterns.
Finding a compromise house that fits everyone’s criteria can be very difficult, and once that home is identified you still face commuting issues for kids, re-arranging schedules, having to discuss new rules for a new house, and you need to address the household budget, taking into account differences that may result from one child being in the house only half the time, while someone else may have multiple kids that are around more often.
Going through furniture, art, and other stuff that will not survive the merger can also be very emotional, but that is nothing compared to the work it wil take teaching kids to share their parents’ time with others. This is precisely why experts suggest that you take your time blending families, and it explains why the odds are so stacked against blended families in terms of success– they have about a 30% chance of survival. Finding a good support network and asking for help when you get overwhelmed, are key.
Luckily, most step families are very open in sharing their stories of trials and tribulations. Together, we can hopefully help each other and change those statistics towards a more favorable rate of success.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.