|Type of paper:
|United States Family Childhood Social issue
Over the years, the issues of Step-families were not customary recognized as a conventional family structure. As times go on, this family formation has become a norm, and it is gradually accepted. By and large, Step-families or blended families consist of different family establishments and have more than one possible family into a single unit. A step-family is another form of a nuclear family. Step-families can also be considered as family's formation whereby one or both previously married partners either divorced or widowed engaged in another marriage. From a different perspective, Step-families are not necessary as a result of remarriages. Besides, it benefits, this type of family structure experiences multiple challenges, such as parenting-related issues, among others. Step-families' complexity should be addressed to ensure they run smoothly by working together as a unit to circumvent further damage to the individual concerned. This paper seeks to establish the sociological factors that led to the formation of Step-families, social benefits, and challenges experienced in Step-families, particularly in the United States.
Sociological Factors Influences Formation of Step-Families
In context to this, a simple statistically-based principle pointed out that in the United States, Step-families, make up about half of the current marriages. The second types of remarriages are the majority of the Step-families. The number of Step-families has dramatically risen over the last few decades (Lamanna, 2014). There are diverse sociological factors that influence the formations of this type of family formation.
The likelihood of length cohabitation of the couples before marriage or time after the divorce is a significant factor contributing to forming step-families. Partners mostly between the ages of 15 to 44 years have dramatically had children out of wedlock and later ending up not marrying each other (Farber, 2018). There are a high number of single parents who are re-parenting subsequent led to Step-families. Besides, in case of a family separation or divorce, partners are cohabitating for a more extended period before reuniting. In American society, the longer the cohabitating period, the more likely the couples will remarry ended up in a step-family.
There are increasing marital disruptions in the United States, which ultimately causes parental divorce and family breakdown (Lamanna, 2014). The affected couples in most scenarios tend to re-partners in search of emotional, financial, and security support. The high level of family's disruption creates a large pool of children and single adults at possibilities of forming Step-families. It is the conventional commencement of the population concept from which the blended families are largely created.
Less well renowned is the non-marital fertility in the formation of Step-families. In the United States society, an increasing number of first marriages that are likely to remain childless on their marriage end up separating (Lamanna, 2014). There are high chances that the divorced couple results in a new marriage. In most cases, one of the newly married partners tends to have children from the previous family. Arise of this new family is also what is known as Step-families.
Social Advantages of Step-Families
The Step-families enjoy many benefits from both the partners and the children. Some of the social benefits of Step-families include; first, the children get parental guidance. The Step-families are formed after divorce or death or the spouse. Therefore, children will find it hard to and suffer psychologically. When the parent creates a step-family, the children get both the mother and father figures. Though they do not have blood ties, they are better than when they lived with a single parent.
The two partners provide financial and family support. In the modern-day in the United States of America, it is a hard task to make ends meet as a single parent. Paying bills, utilities, taxes, school fees, and other children's expenses is an uphill task (Lamanna, 2014). Therefore, in Step-families, the partner can pull together resources to pay for such expenses. Pulling resources together enable partners to establish a stable and secure financial base. Ultimately, the two partners can share the expenses. Moreover, with money from two sources, there are fewer burdens from each partner. Besides, the partners enjoy mental peace and are capable of making a better environment and plan a better future for their children. Adequate resources also provide a sense of security for both the children and their spouses.
Children and parents acquire problem-solving skills. In Step-families, children learn to resolve conflict and to be flexible. Adapting to new people, environment, and situations make people learn to compromise. Members of blended families learn to solve problems. They have many role models within the family to learn (Lamanna, 2014). Parents also learn from their new partner. Such families, therefore, provide holistic children with a larger and broader view of the world.
Children enjoy a caring and friendly attitude. Children living with a single-family feel neglected. However, in Step-families, they get care from more than one person. New children or partners provide care, and the children, therefore, enjoy a caring attitude. Some new siblings in the new family may be old enough to care for some young siblings of the other step-parent. Children, therefore, enjoy the care that lacks in an overburdened single parent.
A large family also enables children to acquire and build excellent interpersonal relationship skills (Lamanna, 2014). Children and parents learn cooperation and adaptability. Children and adults in a blended family experience goals, schedules, and interests from varied backgrounds. They should, therefore, learn to be flexible and to adapt to the new roles and responsibilities. Additionally, they need to cooperate with others in performing domestic shore or to run for errands. A blended family will strive to make an environment where everyone feels loved and accommodated in doing so they learn to cooperate.
Children always get new, more role models from the new residential parent and relatives apart from their biological parents. The presence of new, more siblings, more unties, more grandparents, more cousins offers a chance for children to develop a new friendship. These people may act as a mentor to them. These relatives help learners to develop their goals and career.
Challenges Step Families Experiences
Bringing two different families to one unit is a challenge. Step-families experience more unique problems for both parents and children. These problems occur as the family tries to adapt to new living styles, disciplining styles, relationships, and conflicting strong emotions (Lamanna, 2014). Some of the challenges include;
Parents experience coping with the relationship between the previous partners and the new partners. When people end old ties, they move on with life. It means they cease to communicate with their ex-partners. However, with children involved, it becomes hard as children may need to communicate with their biological parents. In the United States, Child support laws demand that both parents have access to the children (Farber, 2018). Regular communication between former partners is a threat to the new marriage and may mistrust couples. Other times, the biological mother may have a feeling that their children are mistreated. Therefore there exists a tension in a blended family.
Children have identity confusion. The mother in step-families may decide to change her name to adopt the new partner's name. The children who still behave the name of the previous father may be confused (Lamanna, 2014). There are always trapped unsure whether to change their names too. This confusion brings insecurity to children, not sure whether the new partner is their actual father.
Moreover, separated spouses may experience financial struggles and may require support from previous partners. After divorce or separation, there might be a dispute about sharing the family resources. One partner may be disadvantaged, and there have financial constraints in the next marriage. The families are also generally large. A big family requires more resources for domestic expenses such as food, clothing, school fees, and other expenses (Lamanna, 2014). Money is always scarce, especially when the partners are having resources disagreement from the previous marriages.
There exist an unstable relationship between step-parent and children. Children usually struggle to accept the step-parent. They find it hard to break the bond with the biological parent and acquire feelings for the new parent. It is typically hard to develop trust, and children worry that the love from new step-parent betrays the biological parent.
Children experience a hard time sharing their parent's love. The Step-families are usually extended to that of a nuclear family (Lamanna, 2014). Children who used to enjoy their biological parent's love may find love divided as the residential parents often share the passion for all children. Thus the child gets limited attention, love, and time. Children feel that the non-residential parent should spend more time with them. Giving adequate time for all children is hard and requires patience, which may lack some children.
Children in blended families experience confusion and sibling rivalry. Children always compete to get attention from their parents. Rivalry with non-biological children is bitter. Children may be jealous of sharing items with non-biological siblings. They are confused about ether to accept the new parent. Additionally, they feel guilty of not accepting and living happy enough for the happiness of their parents.
Step-parent finds it hard to be fair and to discipline children. As an authority figure to children deciding the most appropriate way to discipline children is a problem. It may be hard for both partners to come up with house rules to accommodate all children and ensure that they are fair. Children find it hard to be disciplined by residential parents. On the other hand, children with undesired behaviors, the step-parent find it hard to correct their actions (Lamanna, 2014). A residential parent may decide to discourage unwanted behaviors using corporal punishment or leave them unpunished which may make the child defiant.
Partners and children from blended families should be accepted in society. Consideration of the merits and demerits of Step-families, there are enough facts to support this kind of marriage, just like other unions. Generally, it is being the right mate and not finding the right mate that make a successful marriage.
Lamanna, M. A. (2014). Marriages, families, and relationships: Making choices in a diverse society (11th Ed.). Wadsworth.
Farber, S. (2018). Chapter 15: Remarriage and stepfamilies. Quizlet.
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