The Myth of the “Blended Family”

by childless stepparent

Wednesday Martin, author of the breakthrough book Stepmonster, has been studying stepfamilies for a decade. She argues strongly against unrealistic societal expectations that perpetuate “blended families” as the ideal. In fact, she wants to ban the term “blended family” altogether.

I agree. We must create new language that accurately describes who we are.

“First of all, step-families are not precisely families,” writes Wednesday Martin in The Telegraph. “They bring together a cast of characters, often under one roof, who aren’t related and may have been raised in entirely different ways. Second, step-families often span two households, with kids making potentially stressful trips back and forth. Third, there’s an ex or deceased spouse in the picture. And fourth, step-kids, step-parents and parents in step-families face social bias and ignorance – the view that they are second best or abnormal.

Every time we use the term ‘blended family’ we pretend these important differences between first and step-families, or between first and subsequent marriages, don’t exist. We perpetuate the idea that melding should be the goal – and that looking, feeling and acting like a first family is the only measure of success. This straight-jacket of expectations stresses all the players, preventing them from connecting in authentic ways.”

Well said.

Question: Do you agree that “step-families are not precisely families”? Have societal expectations surrounding the ideal of a “blended family” impacted you?