Blended families are sometimes referred to as stepfamilies and occur when one or both of the parents remarry. When the new married partner brings his or her children from the previous marriage into the new household, they are blended into one household. There can be great challenges as well as advantages to a blended family. The new family arrangement can create a less combative environment and improved financial living standard as well as introduce new siblings.
Happier parents mean happier children and this can be created by remarriage. Blended families can also mean a more loving living environment, which could be an improvement from a pre-divorce home life of anger and hostility. Another positive benefit for children is an expanded extended family network, where new aunts, uncles and even grandparents can help them through the transition period as well as offer support and love.
Higher Living Standard
Children of divorce often experience a family income reduction, sometimes a substantial one. In most cases, the children end up in a female-headed, single-parent household and living with serious economic challenges. With the new blended household, the family income is typically increased because the remarriage usually brings greater access to resources. When the standard of living increases, the family's stress because of the former financial instability, decreases.
Increased Role Models
Positive role models are important in a child's life and blended marriages often provide greater access to people who fulfil this role. The increased diversity of role models improves the child's outlook on how family structures can vary. It can also expose the child to new experiences, such as a cousin's career in teaching or an uncle's love of fishing.
More Relatives and Siblings
When children and a parent move into a new blended living arrangement, although potentially tense, they are once again part of a two-parent family. Another advantage is less verbal fighting, which might have all but disappeared. For children, a blended family can mean more children to play with, share new experiences and build mutual support from. In addition, more relatives like aunts, uncles and grandparents, mean new avenues for sharing holidays, birthdays and celebrations.