Blended-life is more than some can integrate!
Even mature adults grow weary and become stressed. In the blender there is a cyclone of emotions, reactions, expectations, values, fears, and resistance. It might feel like there is more resistance than acceptance. Children do not have the same emotional resilience and skills to remain balanced. It is normal for most to struggle and come unglued.
Children brought into a blended family before the age of four or five will fare much better than after. By age five or six, the grain of their personality from their birth order is well set. It is hard for children, and even more difficult for teens, to make the adjustments well.
The Law of Complexity
The law of complexity generally states that the more complex the problem, the more complex the solution. When there is just one person with issues, that is a challenge but is, for the most part, do-able. When there are two adults the issues become twice as difficult. When there are three and four individuals, it begins to exponentially exert pressure on the system. The system sways under the pressure and many lose their balance. Blended families must learn to balance while it is ‘messy’ until the ‘new’ becomes the ‘new normal’!
The New Normal
There needs to be a transition
from two sets of grandparents to four. Emotional alchemy in the blended families is not just made of two ingredients, but sometimes three, four, five or more. This becomes a highly unique hybrid formula.
Like a more sophisticated car it requires special ‘know how’, ‘unique tools’ and ‘specialists’ who have been there and understand the differences between a traditional nuclear family and the unique mixture of the blended family.
We all bring to the new family maladaptive schema’s (or patterns) that are well forged in the fires of attachment, deprivation, abandonment, betrayal, narcissism, aloofness, mistrust, shame, passivity or control. We are wooed to the fire of romance like a moth to a flame, but that same chemistry that welded emotional bonds now pushes emotional buttons, igniting us to panic. Inevitably we ask ourselves, “What have I got myself into?”
It is when these old schemas come out from hiding that we have the best opportunity to melt coal in the fires of adversity. It is in the activation of ‘early schemas’ within your relationships that a turning point opportunity
may present itself.
When you learn to be mindful of each other’s marred schemas, you can think of things differently. You see the complexity of the challenge and become compassionate and patient with your partner and the children. When your perspective changes, the system has to change!
It takes mindful, patient and mature adults to blend a family.