What is a blended family? The term “blended” is often used to identify a family that includes children of a previous marriage of one spouse or both. However, many stepfamily experts believe the blended family label creates unrealistic expectations and does more harm than good. The phrase is loved by the media, but not by academics and therapists working with stepfamilies.
In fact, the National Stepfamily Resource Center goes so far as to describe the term blended families as “a catchy media phrase that does not describe either a family relationship or what happens when at least one partner to a marriage brings children from a prior relationship.”
Trisha Ladogna, contributing writer for StepMom Magazine and co-creator of SteppingThrough.com.au, believes that the notion of blending everyone together like a fruit smoothie until you can’t see where the members of your family start or finish should not be the goal for any stepfamily.
In Ladogna’s article “The B-Word” inside the April 2015 back issue of StepMom Magazine she explains, “The concept of blending sets up a denial of any connections outside of the blender. Where the concept of blending falls down the hardest for children in stepfamilies is when it comes to developing recipes. Very rarely do blended families include the child’s other family members—the other parent, the other stepparent or the other siblings—in their list of ingredients. It is impossible for a child who is expected to be blended in two different homes to feel completely integrated anywhere.”
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