BLENDED FAMILY 5
Theauthors indicate that blended families have become a commonphenomenon in the American society, as the rate of divorces andcouple separation continues to increase. The author quotes researchthat shows that about 50 percent of first-time marriage ends up indivorce, and out of these bout 65 percent remarry and bring childreninto the new union. The author claims that such a union creates anormative family where the original family dynamics collapse andhence the use of the family system becomes extremely complex.Complexity emanates from the fact that blended families exclaim newfamily system variables into the interpersonal dynamics involved thatresults in numerous imbalances. These imbalances necessitate therecalibration of the previous normative conduct. As a matter of fact,the absorption of two diverse norms may generate forces that tilt theoriginal balance creating a need for adjustment of behavior to be ina position to patch up in the new family model.
Theauthor further stresses that some important elements need to beredressed in the therapeutic relationship since in this form of unionthe individuals couple’s subsystem are pivotal factors thatdetermine the health of the blended family. Such therapeutic guidanceis paramount because the modern society does not have a clear pathwaythat depicts how the blended families should behave towards eachother. It is upon each of the blended families to look for ways tosurmount the previous soundly grounded norms so that a fertile groundfor the creation of a common history can be generated. Guidance inthe integration phase is vital because a blended family does not havethe required resources of mutual feelings and affections and sharednorms and values that come as a consequence of shared experiences. Acounselor or psychotherapist needs to bolster the family insurmounting their stance and normalizing their values, and feelingsdepending on the unique variables in the place. There is no point intrying to compare the each blended family specific situation withanother family because the most important thing is to review theaptest strategy of their particular situation.
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Benokraitisconcurs with the author in relation to the role expectation in thenew marriage structure. Benokraitis (2011) states that couplesnormally adhere to commonly accepted values and norms about enactingroles. In this light, the absence of norms on the subject of roleexpectation for blended families generates impenetrable questions.The situation becomes even more complex when the family is questionis an extended family.
Benokraitishighlights some of the main features of a step family, which includeloyalty conflicts, ambiguity, lack of cohesiveness, requires greaterflexibility, lacks family history and unrealistic expectations(Benokraitis, 2011). In this vein, Benokraitis states that thestructure of blended families is complex and as such couples must beprepared to cope with unique tasks and more conflicts (Benokraitis,2011). When couples remarry they form a new family structure andnetwork. Such a family falls under the category of mother –stepfamily–where all the children into the union are stepchildren to thefather and biological to the mother, father-step mother family wherethe children into the marriage are step children to mother andbiological to father and a joint step family where at least one ofthe children into the marriage is a biological child of both parents(Benokraitis, 2011). This means different dynamics come into playdepending on the specific situation, and that call for a differentapproach.
Itis true that blended families have become a normal aspect within oursociety. With the high rate of divorces in the United States, it hasbecome increasingly important to look for ways to make blendedfamilies cope with the new challenges inherent in such unions. Themyth and misconception relating to blended families pervading oursociety needs to be eliminated to accord couples in such unions’opportunity to integrate successfully.
Hendricks,B. E., Bradley, L. J., Southern, S., Oliver, M., & Birdsall, B.(2011). Ethical code for the International Association of Marriageand Family Counselors. TheFamily Journal,19, 217-224.
Benokraitis,Nijole V. 2011. Marriagesand Families: Changes, Choices, and Constraints (7thEdition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. ISBN13-978-0-205-73536-5