Blended families are becoming the norm, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. A blended family is not without its challenges.

Family expert and founder of Smart Step Families Ron Deal, discusses the challenges that occur in stepfamilies with adult children.

Many of the challenges that blended families face are caused by relational stressors. Ron elaborates on the importance of maintaining awareness,

“On the one hand, we want people to have their eyes open going in so that they have an awareness of what those stressors might be. I think it’s generally true that when we are aware of some common dynamics, ‘Here are the things that couples typically go through and step families typically go through,’ people who are aware of those things do a better job managing them.”

“They have an expectation that it’s coming; they have a sense of what to do about it and that’s helpful.”

On the other hand, self-fulfilling prophecies can seep into in the family dynamics causing tension and additional challenges. Adult children are more inclined to create a self-fulfilling prophecy if they lack trust in their future stepparent.

“One of the self-fulfilling prophecies I see with adult children who are now becoming an adult stepchild, they’re already thinking, ‘Man, I never saw this one coming. Now my mom is married to somebody who’s not my dad,’ 

They can make some decisions very quickly about their soon-to-be stepdad and go, ‘I think he’s just marrying mom for her money,’ or ‘I think he’s just kind of working his way in and I don’t really trust his heart or his character.’

How stepchildren view their stepparent has a tremendous impact in the family dynamics.

“That adult child makes a decision about whether or not they’re going to trust mom’s new husband. If they’ve decided not to that’s a problem.”

Blended families carry a unique set of challenges brought on by external and internal stressors. To overcome these challenges, Ron reminds us that it’s up to us to make our relationships go in a healthy direction.

“Where we put our heart is going to make a difference in how we walk out these new relationships.”

More helpful advice and encouragement can be found in Ron Deal’s book, .

Highlight: Relational stressors

Hope for blended families

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