top of page
  • Writer's pictureStudentGuiders

Building Cohesiveness within a Blended Family, How to Achieve Cohesiveness in a Blended Family

Building Cohesiveness within a Blended Family

Achieving Cohesiveness in a Blended Family

The Differences and Similarities between Nuclear and Blended Families


In the world of today, not much is said about single families which normally comes as a result of the death of one of the partners or due to divorce, many people today are talking more about a new form of family which is commonly known as blended family. Therefore, it is important for the people to consider a cohesive way of keeping blended families in order, since the children are mostly the affected ones in case it doesn’t work well. This is because a lot of trauma is normally caused from previous marriages, thus, the need of all parents to ensure that they put into consideration the children needs through communication so that they adapt to the new marriage system. It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure that the experiences that their children had in previous marriage should not be an obstacle in blended marriages, instead, they should be put in a state of understanding so that they get along with the new family that they are joining. The parents involved should also design a best working strategy that will ensure that, not only are their ex-spouses allowed to access the children, they should also be given an opportunity to support them.

Key terms to check are blended family, cohesiveness, ex-spouses, communication.

Achieving Cohesiveness in a Blended Family

In America today, blended families have become so common among the people. A lot of the people have opted to adapt this form of making a family due to a lot of challenges that have come up in life mostly caused by divorce or death among the spouses which rendered so many spouses to be single parents. According to (Kumar, 2012), there are so many families in America that have currently adapted a form of blended families estimated to be about 40%. This means, this form of family has become so popular among the people in America.

Nevertheless, there are so many challenges associated with blended families like for instance; past experiences that the spouses had from the previous marriage. It is important for the families involved to consider the well being of the children by ensuring that these experiences do not affect their proper growth. As put forth by (Deal, 2014), he proposes that before the making of a blended family, each partners should make sure that the challenges they had in the previous marriage is sorted amicably so that the blended family can be build well. This he says should be a responsibility of all the parents and the children by forgetting the past and moving forward to ensure that they start over a new and totally different setting of a family. They should all ensure that there is unity and also cohesiveness in the new family by ensuring that they not only understand each other, but through proper communication they will move quickly.

The Differences and Similarities between Nuclear and Blended Families

The discussion on blended family in our case will not be complete without considering the difference as well as the similarities between a blended family and a nuclear family. Since it is clear that blended family involves parents who have children already and they remained in such a state for some circumstances; like death and divorce, it is important to acknowledge that in a nuclear family, it is a family that comes up between a father, mother and children. The two are more likely the same since they all involve parents and children, but the difference is that, in nuclear, the children are got from the same parents but in blended, each parent comes with the children from previous marriages and decide to stay together according to (Kumar, 2017).

Since a form of parenthood is totally different from the two families, it is important that for the sake of a blended family to continue, parents should put up structures that will ensure that the children, who are not biological in nature, bond together and love one another as siblings. Thus, unity is the key for the blended family to continue. On the other hand, concerning the influence from outside force for instance ex-spouses for the sake of a divorce, in nuclear family that influence is not there since the biological parents are present. But in blended families, in so many cases, the ex-spouses have been reported to be a very bad influence in its growth as well as existence. This is because, most of them have never accepted to move on and are constantly struggling to be part of the lives of their biological children, hence, influencing the children against the new family structure.

Before the blended family comes in place, it is important for the all the parties involved that is; children and the parents who are not all their biological parents, to be taken through a counseling process known as Pre-Blended Family Counseling. The main aim of this form of counseling is to help the parties come terms with what happened in the previous marriage like divorce or death hence, enabling them to move forward and accept the new form of a family that will be able to benefit them.

As explained by (Zeleznikov, 2015), pre-blended family counseling is composed of different sessions or steps and so far, it has proven to be of so much help to the families involved as discussed below;

First, is the initial bonding process which is called discovery step? This is a very crucial step that should involve both the children and the parents since it enables all the parties involved to accept who they are and know each other in terms of likes and dislikes. Education is the second step according to him. It is here that the roles and what is expected of them about the particular family is explained. Here the parents decide whether to get involved in the new union or not. It gives an overview of advantages as well as the challenges that they might undergo in the new family. The parent unification which is the third step involves the parents accepting the new family and sharing the roles and responsibilities involved including the upbringing of the children and the aspect of their discipline. Lastly, we have a family unification. This is the last step that includes all the members sharing together about the expectations of the family. It is paramount that honesty is upheld here, since, it will enable the discussion to be fruitful and ideas leant from each other. It is also here that, in case there is an issue of concern, it will be addressed accordingly. An environment that will enhance openness should be put in place so as to ensure that all the people involved are free to share not only their feelings, but also their expectations as well as fears and hopes.

There are so many challenges involved in the creation of a blended family. This has mostly come up due to the fact that the already formed families were separated due to some unavoidable circumstances like death and divorce and since they all have children; the two spouses decide to unite again together with their biological children to form a new family. For this type of family to work well therefore, there is need for proper cohesiveness among the members involved; parents and children from both sides. Since the family can go through the steps discussed above, there are also other ways through which they can achieve cohesiveness among themselves so as to operate well as a family and achieve their family goals as discussed;

First, since the newly formed families have had unavoidable circumstances that led to them leaving the other marriage, there is need for them to accept and move on. For example, the families can invite the services of a qualified counselor who can offer therapy for all of them. According to (Hart, 1997), a situation like divorce or death could be very traumatizing not only among the partner but also in the children. It is therefore important that the members of the family are taken through proper therapy for the sake of enabling them to clear all the leftover scars from the previous marriage and move on to build the new on. This process helps the families a lot for the sake of not ever being distracted by those events again while in the new setup of a family. It is in such a situation that the members are expected to be open enough and communicate whatever is inside their hearts for the sake of understanding and helping each others’ problems.

Secondly, cohesiveness can be achieved by the parents ensuring that they communicate with the children effectively in the new setup marriage. As said by (Dobson, 2004), this is a crucial way that will ensure that the children are on the same page with the parents in making the new family. The parents should ensure that the views of the children who are very important for the continuity of a blended family are taken into consideration. When properly done, the cases of wars and disunity among the children and parents due to different cultures will be avoided and challenges of external interferences like ex-spouses will also be reduced since the children will be aware of what led to the formation of the new family.

It is good for all the parents to ensure that the treatment of their children is equal without discrimination since they are all a family; for the sake of unity and love. Because many children are normally disturbed when moving to a new family due to factors like death or divorce, there is need for the parents to ensure that they are made to realize and come to terms with the new arrangement (Hart, 1997).

The third way to ensure that a blended family has an aspect of cohesiveness is by ensuring that the roles are defined among the members of the family. As said by (Hutchinson, 2017), the aspect of one person having authority in the family is what has brought a lot of disunity among the members of a blended family. There is need to divide the roles so that none interferes with the other. The division of roles will also ensure that the members need each other for assistance in each particular role thereby, ensuring understanding and acceptance among the members. When dividing the roles to the children, other children should not be overburdened more than others lest, they will feel not loved and will oppose the marriage. The roles given to the children should be based on the age, interest and the ability of the children to do the duty. This will be very important in ensuring that the children become responsible and hardworking even in the future.

He goes ahead to say that, any disciplinary measure put in place should apply to all the children. The parents should also make sure that just like before; the love they had for the children should stand without discrimination so that the children feel that they are still loved as previously. Purswell & Dillman (2013), says that, the elder children should be tasked with a duty of taking care of the younger ones as this will ensure that therapy happens among the children and hence, they will be united and love each other in the family.

Another important way is the issue to do with the previous spouses. It is important to acknowledge the fact that, previous spouses in case of a divorce have proven to be a problem when it comes to cohesiveness in a blended family. Study has shown that, it is hard for biological children as well as parents to stay away from each other. It is important to acknowledge that fact and put workable ways to ensure that the ex-spouse are allowed to not only visit their children, but also to play a role in their bringing up.

With an understanding between the parents of the blended family, a plan should be developed on how these previous parents should visit their children and how long they should stay with them. With so doing and understanding, it will avoid cases of previous parents spoiling the minds of the children that could lead to the dissolution of the blended family by providing an aspect of unity among both families. It is very crucial for the parents of the blended families to make sure that their previous spouses are updated on the events so that they don’t feel neglected and sidelined of their biological children, by ensuring they know the whereabouts of their children.

Cohesiveness in the blended family can also be realized by the parents organizing events that will ensure that the children have fun and enjoy freely with their fellow step siblings. This can be organized through the use of activities like picnic and gifts and presents given to the children irrespective of who they are or from whose parents they are from. This will truly makes these siblings to bond and feel part and parcel of each other with passion. Picnics can create an avenue for the children to open up to each other hence; helped in case of an issue that is bothering them. For example, the ones who could not be able to talk to their parents can feel free and tell a fellow sibling and hence, an issue will be addressed accordingly.

The use of presents and gift can not only make the children feel appreciated, but it will also make them be happy with each other as said by Carter, Chandler, & Stewin (2014), that, whatever parents do to the children, should be activities and things that will make them feel satisfied for their mental, physical and emotional development.

There are also so many challenges that are associated with involving the previous spouses in the life of the children in the blended families as highlighted below;

To start with, there are parents who used to mistreat their children before the divorce for instance. The bringing back of such parents to the lives of the children who could have otherwise settled in the new form of marriage could be a bad influence not just to the character of the children but also to the memories of the children on the trauma they might have undergone.

Secondly, other ex-spouses could have regretted their actions which could have led them to divorce. Others could use such a plat form to impart bad knowledge about the step parents to the children, thereby, bringing disunity among the blended family members.

Lastly, according to (Martin-Uzzi, 2013), for the sake of dissatisfied former spouses in a divorce, they can decide to use this as a way of telling the child bad things about what led them to divorce and this could have some very bad outcomes on the life of the child concerning the situation.

Therefore, as much as involving the former spouses in the blended family could be having advantages, it could also be very dangerous on the prosperity of the blended family and should be handled with a lot of care. This can only be handled by the parents allowing the children to have a say on such situations as to when or how or if there is need for their biological parents to be involved in their lives. As explained by (Deal, 2014), the parents should also be very sober and honest on their children on what could have made them to divorce and also ensure that the bitterness they have on their former spouses is not transferred on the children. This will help the child to gain trust and will not change the mind whatsoever even if lied to by their own biological former parents. It is this that will ensure that there is unity and cohesiveness in the blended family.

According to (Deal, 2014, p.40), it is the duty of the parent to build a relationship that is healthy and strong with their children. It is this relationship which will be full of love, trust and understanding, that will help the child to move on with life in the new family and forget the trauma that could have happened in the event for instance divorce or death. It is this environment as initiated by the parent that will ensure that the children are also free with each other and their parents and thus, they will not shy away to share their feelings with the parents and other siblings so as to be helped accordingly.

Lastly, cohesiveness can be created among the members of the family by ensuring that there is equality among the children. All the parents of a blended family must ensure that they treat all the children equally without favor. This way of treating them is the one that will make them feel appreciated and be part of a family thus, proper bonding and unity among them and the rest of the family members.

To conclude, it is important for the parents to learn and understand the implications and challenges associated with blended families. They should also take into considerations the importance of cohesiveness not only to the future lives of their children but also in the new marriage that they have started. The bond between the biological parents should be enhanced through allowing the ex-spouses to be able to play a role in the lives of their children. However, former parents who could otherwise be of bad influence to the children and the marriage should be handled and treated carefully so that they don’t affect the family.

Parents should also take it upon themselves to ensure that they help their children to overcome the trauma associated with former marriage since; this is what will help them move on and be successful even in the future.


Deal, R. (2014). The smart stepfamily: The seven steps to a healthy family. Bethany House Publishers.

Hart, A. (1997). Helping children survive divorce: What to expect; how to help. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Kumar, K. (2017). The blended family life cycle. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 58(2), 110-125.

Zeleznikow, L. & Zeleznikow, J. (2015). Supporting blended families to remain intact: A case study. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 56(4), 317-335.

Martin-Uzzi, M. (2013). The experience of remarried couples in blended families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 54(1), 43-57.

Purswell, K. E., & Dillman Taylor, D. (2013). Creative use of sibling play therapy: An example of a blended family. Journal of Creativity In Mental Health, 8(2), 162-174.

Carter, S., Chandler, C., & Stewin, L. L. (2014, September 2). Building resilience in children of divorce. Retrieved from Separation and Divorce:

Zucker, D. J. (2003). Blended families/Sarah, Hagar, and all that…. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling: Advancing theory and professional practice through scholarly and reflective publications, 57(1), p. 33-38

Dobson, James Dr. (2004). The New Strong-Willed Child: Surviving Birth through Adolescence. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Hutchinson, L. (2017, November 15). Personal interview.

Recent Posts

See All

When infusing pantoprazole, use a separate IV line, a pump, and an in-line filter. A brown wrapper and frequent vital signs are not needed. A client has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The pro

Your paragraph text(10).png
bottom of page