Commonly known as ‘step families’ and a major part of our culture shock, blended families were, and still are, popular among us. But, does being in a blended family have to mean being dysfunctional?
The first examples of blended families came along when a child may have lost a parent or parents, and had to stay with another family member and their family, i.e. a mother’s sister became the guardian of her children after the mother’s death. This situation was said to be the most common of the reasons behind blended families in earlier years. But, it wasn’t brought to the forefront until television programs like The Brady Bunch.
Before The Brady Bunch was aired on television, families had been “blending” for years. For example, a man loses his wife to death, and in earlier times, it was a “must’” for the man to find a “mother” for his children while he worked. The situation also played out the same way with a wife who had lost her husband.
It’s certainly not true that all blended families have a fairytale lifestyle as the fictional Brady Bunch, which also showed some dysfunctional moments within the “happy” family. First, let’s define dysfunctional: relating badly; dysfunctional family: a family where conflict and misbehavior occurs regularly. From these definitions, one could determine that almost all blended families would, and should, have a bit of dysfunctionality within them. But, it doesn’t have to necessarily be dysfunctional.
In nearly all families, blended or not, there is a bit of dysfunctionality. If you actually think about it, no one person has the same personality and will have differences in opinions, tastes, ideas and behaviors with others in their family. This is what many have been educated to understand as “individuality,” and it’s not a bad or wrong thing. In some cultures, individuality is often persuaded. Common sense works as a blocking agent to the reasons why a person relates badly to another person who has a difference of opinion with them, but it still happens. Thus, the birth of conflict, and perhaps a bit of misbehavior as well.
Recognizing the fact about individuality is pretty much winning half the battle against family dysfunctionality. Accepting a person for who and what they are leaves a person open for growth. Resentment only hinders this fact. Siblings, especially at a child’s age, will always have disagreements and moments in which there is a difference of opinions. This allows each to realize and learn to respect another person’s way of thinking and doing. To each his own, right? This same method of realizing and respecting works well with adults, too. Try it, and you’ll be making the first steps to beating the battle against a dysfunctional family!