Why Living in Blended Families was a Gift and a Curse for Me

BY: - 18 Sep '14 | Blended Families

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My father has always had a tumultuous time with women. Being such, my brother and I have had the experience of being raised in a few blended families. As is true with most experiences, it was both a gift and a curse.

My parents divorced after 15 years of marriage while I was six and my brother was twelve. My father retained custody of both my brother and I.

After accepting the divorce was happening and moving away from our mother to St. Croix, my dad soon began a relationship with a woman from the island. When she moved in with our family, she brought along her daughter, who would become my new 2 year old sister. I had a new family now. Just like that.

Kids adapt – especially military brats. To adapt is normal and to be expected. All the kids around us were the same. New places – new bases – new countries – new students – new faces – new friends – new people – new teachers – new schools – new houses – new apartments – new addresses and new phone numbers. And every now and again, new mothers. That’s how life was. It was normal.

There was so much constant change, you didn’t know what was supposed to be static. It was life as we knew it.

My new Crucian mother loved my brother and I the same way she loved her own daughter. She helped to raise us in her own unique way. As a new family, we experienced life in St. Croix, Colorado, and even Germany together. It was a new life indeed, and I experienced life as the middle child. All the way until her and my father split during my junior high years.

I still call her my mother to this day. She still loves me as her own flesh. And my sister will never be anything less than. I love them both dearly.

My father’s third and current marriage, brought me another new ready-made family during my high school years, this time with a new older brother in the mix. Up until the time our parent’s married, he had been an only child being raised by a single black mother.

He had a history of rebelling. We got along great.

I remember taking a car ride with my newest mother, while I was around 15. I remember her talking as I was blankly staring out of the passenger window.

“I had this idea that I was going to be the perfect little mother for you. That I would try to connect to you on that level, and we could do so many things with one another. And then I realized that you’ve spent most of your life simply with your father. That you don’t need a perfect little mother in your life. You have a life. And you’re still going to go to your dad for everything you need just like you would have if I wasn’t here. But if you ever need me for anything at all, anything at all, just know I’ll will always be here for you from this day forward.”

I was looking at her by the time she finished.

“Thank you,” I said.

Over 17 years later, she has kept her word. Undoubtedly, she is my mother as well, and has done more for me than she probably knows. I love her dearly.

From the pain of divorce, I have gained a multitude of other family members who genuinely care and ask about my well being. Who can genuinely ask for more than that out of life?

Unfortunately, through the pain of divorce, I never learned how to fully open myself up to accept all of that love. To be open is to be vulnerable to loss and pain. I don’t know if I’ll ever be that open again. Scars are scars. They change the landscape. The sense of loss after losing the relationship I had with my biological mother changed me as child and those changes have rippled into my adult life.

Those changes are now simply a part of my makeup, and more than likely shielded a lot of the pain I felt when my new brother committed suicided a few short years again. I still love and hurt for him dearly.

At the age of 33, with my own son, and my own marriage, I still thrive directly from my ability to adapt to life changes. I also feel I have an untouched part of my soul and psyche I’m afraid to let get affected again, and I don’t know if it’s something you truly ever get passed. I just hope for my family’s sake, it’s not the part of me they need to thrive.

As a result of my rather large extended family footprint, my son has an outpouring of love from so many sources, I can’t help but to think my past pain is the source of his current blessing.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

BMWK: If you grew up in a blended family, how did it contribute to who you are today?

It’s Blended Families Week on the site.  Please click here for more articles and resources.

About the author

Isom Kuade wrote 70 articles on this blog.

Isom Kuade is a father and a husband, resting his head in the middle of Texas. He's doing his best to adult with purpose and sneak in some good meals along the way. He and his wife tell stories of their triumphs, failures, and biased opinions at pancakesandcider.com.


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Blended Family Week: 10 Tips to Make Your Blended Family Work For You

BY: - 18 Sep '14 | Blended Families

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Remember the Brady Bunch?  When the show came on it played that much too familiar song that went something like… “Here’s a story of a lovely lady… and a man named Brady … and that’s the way they ALL became the Brady Bunch… ” In that perfect square with that perfect house and all six kids coming together in harmony.

Every episode ended in a resolution to whatever problem went on for that day.  No matter what, the Brady’s worked it out didn’t they?

And so my fantasy perception of the blended family began.  Little did I know that REAL blended families come with problems and issues, and other parents, and extended family and non biological kids, etc.  After all, the Brady’s never seemed to worry about finances, custody, child support or bitter ex’s did they?  I never saw Marsha, Jan and Cindy’s real father.  They rarely even spoke of him or Peter, Greg and Bobby’s mother.  Were they dead?  Who knows.  What we know now is that blended families are a lot more complex than we ever imagined.

Almost 2,100 blended families form in the United States every day and 68% of re-marriages involve children from prior marriages according to TheBondedFamily.com

Blended families come with a lot of layers and its not gonna be a “Brady” experience for everyone. One of the main things that I think that should be the focus when families connect themselves together through marriage are the kids.  The children are going to be the only people in the whole situation who have no choice.  They don’t get to choose who their mom or dad marries.  They don’t get to choose the children that come along with that marriage.

When my husband and I chose to blend our families we were hoping it would be a piece of cake, but realized that we had to put in work.  All we were certain of is that we loved each other and that we wanted it to work.  My youngest son adapted pretty quickly to my new marriage and our new life in a different state and was comfortable from the beginning, but my oldest son…not so much.  For him it took awhile.  What we understand now is that younger children do adapt better in these situations.  Here are 3 of the steps that we took for our blended family.

Decide on what the child should call the new parent

I don’t think you should force a kid to call another man/woman by mom/dad.  If everyone is cool with it, then by all means make it happen.  We gave ours a choice.  One son calls my husband dad sometimes.  The other refers to him as dad, but calls him by his nickname that we all use.  Not a big issue for us.

Have a conversation with the child’s other parent

My husband and my sons father get along great.  I believe that is because they had a necessary conversation about discipline, respect and expectations for our son in the beginning.  They were on the same page so there was never any drama.  Allow the other parent to have some say so.  Discuss it and work it out no matter what.

Make your child understand that the new parent has authority

Sometimes as single parents we may tend to be a little more lenient on our kids.  Or maybe you are more strict.  When a new parent comes in some kids may think of them more as a friend/enemy but not as an authority figure.  Younger children adapt easier than older ones but if you let them know upfront the adjustment will be easier.

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About the author

Stacey Taylor wrote 51 articles on this blog.

Stacey Taylor aka "The SistahChick" is the 40+ SuperChick behind TheSistahCafe.com, Sistah Buttah, and OurNaturalKids.ning.com. She is a writer, blogger and Social Media Maven with a passion for natural hair and her community. Through her online presence she promotes generational self acceptance for women & children alike. Since 2009 Stacey has used her blog to share her love for Atlanta's thriving social scene, natural hair and her successful life as a wife, mother & entrepreneur. Stacey is an Indiana native currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and kids.


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