“When I look back at the pictures of our blended family the day Vince and I married, he and I are smiling, and all the children are frowning.”
Amy Grant, Musician
Advantages & Disadvantages of Blended Families
Blended families (often also referred to as stepfamilies or bonus families) are families in which at least one parent brings children from a previous relationship.
Those children are not biologically related to the current partner, yet they all live together under the same roof. Due to high divorce rates, stepfamilies have become quite common over the past decade.
While there are many advantages of blended families, there are also some downsides related to this concept. In this article, the pros and cons of blended families are examined.
Advantages of Blended Families
- Two sources of income can improve financial situation
- Partners can split the rent for a house
- Can improve the quality of life of people
- Can give children new role models in their lives
- Blended families are a necessity for parents who left their relationship
- Children may get new brothers or sisters to play with
- May offer better support in difficult times
- Happy parents mean happy children
- Children may get a broader perspective on life
- Your partner may solve problems for you
- Children may learn tolerance towards others
- New lifestyles and attitudes
- Children will learn to adapt to new circumstances
Two sources of income can improve financial situation
One crucial advantage of blended families is that this concept can help you to improve your overall financial situation. Especially if you currently suffer from financial problems, chances are that finding a partner who earns good money can significantly improve your overall situation.
Sure, relationships should not be solely based on money, but in such a situation, the concept of blended families could be quite beneficial for you. Moreover, if you create a blended family, your kid will also have better financial security since your new spouse will also be responsible to provide for your kid, even though your spouse is not the biological father of your kid.
Therefore, in terms of overall financial security for you and your kid, creating a stepfamily can make quite a lot of sense for you, especially if your new spouse has significantly more wealth and income than you.
Partners can split the rent for a house
Moreover, blended families can also help you to save money on rent. If you live alone in a house with your children, you will have to pay full rent. However, if you live with a new partner in the same house, you can split the rent and therefore, you will have to spend less money on rent. In turn, you can use this saved money for other things you like instead.
For instance, you may want to provide your kid with better education or you may simply want to shop for new clothes. Whatever you do with it, additional money is most often not a bad thing.
Can improve the quality of life of people
We as humans are social creatures and are not designed to spend our lives without a partner. Hence, if you got divorced and don’t want to live alone, blended families may be a valid concept.
Especially if your partner also brings kids into the relationship, chances are that you will also have to take care of them and in turn, you will no longer feel alone.
Consequently, also your overall quality of life might increase since you would have more social contacts and the feeling that you are needed.
Blended families can be considered to be the chance for a new start
Many people also see blended families as an opportunity for a new start in their lives. Quite often, breakups or divorces are exhausting experiences and many people just want to make a change to their lives. Hence, starting a blended family can be a great way to do so since it is a different concept and may work out better than your previous relationship.
Therefore, blended families may also give people hope for a better future and may also help them to overcome their previous failed relationship.
Can give children new role models in their lives
Another benefit of blended families is that children can also get new role models. Especially if your previous partner was not a good role model at all, chances are that your children could greatly benefit from your new partner in this regard.
Children learn quite a lot from their parents and it is therefore crucial that you bring good role models into the lives of your kids so that they can develop in a healthy manner.
Children may get new brothers or sisters to play with
If both your partner and you bring kids to the relationship, your kids will also get new brothers and/or sisters to play with. This can be quite exciting and also quite helpful for your children since they can play with each other and you will have more time to solve your problems or for other hobbies you like instead.
Moreover, if children play with each other, they will also learn important social skills, which will benefit them later on in their lives. Hence, blended families can also improve the quality of life of children if they get additional brothers and sisters.
May offer better support in difficult times
Life can be difficult from time to time. Especially in hard times of your life, you may just need support from your partner or your family. Since your family will be much bigger if you engage in the concept of blended families compared to a state where you live alone with your kids, chances are that you will have more people who care about you and who will also support you in case you need financial or emotional help.
Happy parents mean happy children
If you are quite desperate and lonely right now since you got divorced just a few days or weeks ago, chances are that also your children will be rather sad. Your children will notice how you feel right now and if you are unhappy, your children will often be unhappy as well. Hence, instead of staying alone without a partner, you may want to find a new partner in order to be happy again.
In turn, your children will likely also be happier since they will feel the positive vibes you will propagate. Therefore, creating a blended family may not only be good for you, but also for your kids.
Children may get a broader perspective on life
Living in a stepfamily also implies significant changes for children. Especially at the beginning, everything will be new to them. However, over time, the concept of stepfamilies also provides your kid with numerous chances.
For instance, if your partner has plenty of life experience, he or she could teach your children quite a lot. In turn, your children may benefit since they will get a broader perspective on life in general.
Your partner may solve problems for you
Another upside of step families is that your partner can also solve problems for you. If you got divorced and live alone, you will have nobody left who could support you in case problems of various sorts appear.
However, if you find a new partner, he or she could help you solve your problems, which could greatly improve your overall quality of life.
Thus, also if you just need someone to solve your problems, blended families may also be a good idea in this regard.
Children may learn tolerance towards others
If you find a new partner, chances are that your children may be quite skeptical first. However, in the long run, chances are that they will also learn a higher level of tolerance towards your partner and also towards others in the long run. If your children realize that your new partner has good intentions, they may no longer be too critical towards him or her.
New lifestyles and attitudes
In general, blended families are a social construct that is known to provide new lifestyles and attitudes for all family members. Especially if the new partner is quite different compared to the old one, chances are that the general attitude towards many things will differ quite a lot. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Experiencing new ideas and concepts can in fact greatly benefit us since it can broaden our experience. In turn, we may be able to get many new insights that could greatly benefit us later on in our lives.
Children will learn to adapt to new circumstances
If you have a new partner, your children will have no choice other than to learn to adapt to the new circumstances. Even though your children may have a hard time in the beginning, chances are that they will accept those new circumstances in the long run.
The ability to adapt to new things and circumstances is also crucial to succeed in various parts of our life and living in a blended family can help your kid to learn this important skill.
Disadvantages of Stepfamilies
- Children may not accept the new partner
- Your new partner may treat your children quite poorly
- Questionable if blended families are a long-term solution
- Risky in case of divorce
- Different parenting styles may lead to problems
- Jealousy can be a problem related to blended families
- Emotional problems for children
- Stepchildren may be resentful towards you
- Partners may feel neglected in the relationship
- Children may not listen to your partner
- Stepfamilies can be difficult in terms of financial issues
- Conflicts between children in blended families
- May lead to problems in school
- Your former partner may tell your children not to accept your current partner
- Blended families can be stressful
- Legal issues in case of separation or divorce
Children may not accept the new partner
Although the concept of blended families can have many important advantages, there are still some problems related to it. For instance, one disadvantage of blended families is that your children may simply not accept your new partner. In fact, this is quite common since your children will often be on the side of your ex-partner and will not consider your new partner as kind of a parent.
This may lead to all sorts of problems and many blended families have not worked out in the past due to the fact that children sabotaged those relationships. Hence, if you consider starting a blended family, make sure that your children will accept this sort of relationship in order to avoid plenty of trouble later on.
Your new partner may treat your children quite poorly
Another problem with blended families is that your new partner may treat your children quite poorly. In fact, especially if your new partner is rather dominant and you are the submissive part, you may lose control in the household and your new partner may dictate what you and your children have to do on a regular basis.
Thus, in order to protect your children, make sure that you choose a partner who is not too dominant and who will also treat your kids with respect.
Questionable if blended families are a long-term solution
While some blended families work out, many of them will not be a viable long-term solution. There is simply so much room for conflicts in this framework and sooner or later, stepfamilies may separate. Hence the chances that this concept works out in the long run are rather limited and you may therefore not want to put in too much hope in it in order to emotionally protect yourself.
Risky in case of divorce
Not only your previous relationship, but also the marriage with your new partner with whom you have a blended family may end sooner or later. This can also imply significant risks in case you get divorced.
Quite often, even if the kids from your partner are not your biological kids, you will still have to pay child support for them in many countries all over the world, which can add up to significant amounts of money.
Therefore, before you get married to a partner who already has kids, make sure that you check out the divorce laws in your region in order to protect yourself against unpleasant financial consequences.
Different parenting styles may lead to problems
Blended families may also not be a good idea if you and your partner have quite different parenting styles. Sure, everybody is different and that is not a problem. However, if the differences in parenting styles between you and your partner become too big, chances are that you will have disputes on a regular basis and your stepfamily will likely not work out due to that.
Thus, if you really want to create a blended family, make sure that you and your future partner will have similar parenting styles since this will make your life much easier.
Jealousy can be a problem related to blended families
Especially at the beginning of your new relationship, your children may also be quite jealous regarding your new partner and don’t want to share your attention with him or her. This can lead to serious problems since it can lead to all sorts of conflicts and can also decrease the quality of life of everybody in your household.
Emotional problems for children
Children from blended families are often also at a higher risk for emotional problems. This is due to the fact that they often do not emotionally accept your new partner and may suffer from plenty of inner conflicts due to the whole situation. Quite often, they may also feel guilty and may also miss their biological dad.
Therefore, if you plan to create a blended family, make sure to monitor your kids closely and to talk to them on a regular basis in case you notice that their mood gets worse.
Stepchildren may be resentful towards you
Another downside of blended families is that your children may also become quite resentful towards you. These children may often think that you are responsible for the divorce of your parents and may never accept you as a valid family member due to that.
In fact, if the kids of your partner do not accept you for any reason, you will have a quite hard time since parents often put their children first and their partner second.
Partners may feel neglected in the relationship
If you create a blended family, chances are that you or your partner will feel neglected sooner or later. This is especially true if you or/and your partner have many kids since the higher the number of kids, the more attention you have to spend on raising your kids. In turn, less time will be left to spend it with your partner.
Children may not listen to your partner
Since your new partner will not be the biological dad of your kids, chances are that your children will also not accept your new partner and will not listen to his demands. This can turn out in a disaster since your partner will just not have any authority and your kids may exploit this fact whenever they can.
Stepfamilies can be difficult in terms of financial issues
Also from a financial perspective, stepfamilies can be rather difficult since it is not clear at all who has to pay for what. In fact, if you earn much more than your spouse, you will be at great risk to support the whole family and that your partner only makes a minor contribution to the family income.
Conflicts between children in blended families
Another problem with stepfamilies is that if you both bring children to the family, chances are that also your children may not like each other. While some children treat each other like normal brothers and sisters, others constantly try to win your attention and literally hate each other.
If your children don’t accept each other, chances are that your family life will also not work out in the long run.
May lead to problems in school
Children from stepfamilies may also have a harder time in school. They may get bullied by their classmates in case they don’t accept the lifestyle of your family.
Moreover, if your kid is not able to deal with your new relationship in an emotionally healthy manner, chances are that your kid’s grades will become worse over time.
Your former partner may tell your children not to accept your current partner
In some cases, your former partner may also use your kids as a tool and tell them that they should not accept your new partner. In such a case, you will have a quite hard time since your kids will often listen to their biological parent and may not accept your partner at all.
Blended families can be stressful
In general, blended families can also be quite stressful. You should be aware that if your new partner brings kids into the relationship, the problems of those kids will now be your problems and you are obliged to solve them somehow. In turn, you will have plenty of additional work to do, which can be quite stressful.
In the long run, excessive levels of stress can lead to serious health problems and you should evaluate for yourself whether you really want to take this additional effort or not.
Legal issues in case of separation or divorce
Also the legal situation regarding blended families may be quite complicated, especially when it comes to divorce. Therefore, make sure that you contact a family lawyer before you marry a partner who brings kids to the relationship in order to protect yourself from all sorts of possible problems related to it.
Top 10 Blended Family Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Blended Family Pros||Blended Family Cons|
|Blended families can broaden the kids’ horizon||Blended families are hard to manage|
|Additional role model for your kids||Can lead to high stress levels|
|Can help to solve financial problems||Kids may not accept the new partner|
|Blended families can reduce your expenses||Lack of authority for one parent|
|May improve the overall quality of life of people||Stepchildren may be resentful|
|May offer support in difficult situations||Conflicts between kids of blended families|
|Happy parents mean happy kids||Can lead to problems in school|
|Children may learn tolerance||Legal issues in case of breakup or divorce|
|Kids may learn to adapt to new circumstances||Can lead to financial problems|
|You may learn a new lifestyle||Blended families can be risky constructs|
Do Blended Families Make Sense?
From the previous argumentation, it has become clear that there are many crucial advantages and disadvantages of blended families. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether blended families are what you want to have or not.
However, make sure that you check out all the pros and cons of stepfamilies in this article quite carefully in order to avoid any unpleasant consequences later on.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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