Blended and Step Families in the Generation X Group

Twenty years ago, it was rare for a family to be divorced. These families were in the minority.  If your family was divorced, you didn't talk much about it.  Generation X is the generation that has seen the most divorces, remarriages and blended families in their lifetime.

Walk into any classroom today, and over half of the kids in the class are from families that are divorced, re-married or in a single parent home.  It's not so unusual anymore.

Recent statistics on divorce and blended families

  • More than 20+ million Blended Family households exist today and that number grows daily. 
  • There are approximately 2,100 new blended families each day in America.
  • Research shows that by the year 2010 the 'blended family' will be the most common form of family unit in our nation. 
  • By 2010, 130+ million people either will be in or have been in a blended family of some form (through re-marriage, adoption, foster home, etc.) 
  • 60% of second marriages end in divorce. (Statistics from the American Blended Family Association.)
How does Generation X respond to these figures? 

It's still embarrassing and upsetting to have your family divorce and your parents remarry other partners. Many hope that their parents will get back together and are crushed when their parents find new mates and start a new marriage.  Parents need to take their time, looking for not only a new partner, but also someone who will be co-parenting their children.  Children need to meet the future step parent, when the relationship starts to become more committed and is heading towards marriage.

Some refer to visiting their noncustodial parent, as "going to see the stepfamily." This reaction is very hurtful to their parent, and also lengthens the time it takes for a visiting teen to integrate into their new family.

What can be done to make it easier?

Teens and young adults of divorced families need to understand that there are things they can affect and things they can't change. You can control your attitude and behavior. You can't control your parent's decisions about divorce or remarriage.   

Communicating honestly and respectfully to your parents is the best action you can take. Share your feelings, thoughts and concerns with your parents.  Your darkest fears and concerns may not be so bad, once you talk with your parents:

  • Will you stop loving me like you stopped loving mom?
  • Will my new stepmom be more important than me?
  • Who will you love more, my new stepdad or me?
Teens may also want to obtain resources on Blended Families. Some people even seek counseling or coaching for their blended family concerns. It's difficult to blend a new family out of two other families. It's O.K. to struggle a little at first, and feel uncomfortable. With patience and understanding, your blended family will become an added bonus to your biological family, and a source of support and strength for you.