The United States always prides itself on diversity and acceptance. The founding fathers established a country free from British rule and opened its bounders to people of all types of religions and backgrounds.
We continue to see that acceptance implemented through generations of new Americans who accept more cultures and traditions than ever before. We also see it through our growing recognition of the “modern family.”
The growing prevalence of blended families
Over the last decade, the concept of the nuclear family shifted. Households aren’t just one mother, one father and two children. They are often same-sex couples, blend families and single parents who raise their children on their own.
More Americans than ever are in blended families with only 46% of children living with their biological parents in the same home, according to Pew Research Center. The majority of children either live with stepparents, cohabitating parents or single parents.
The most significant reason for the shift in family dynamics is the rise of divorce. More people, including older couples, are exiting marriage and finding new partners. The Pew Research Center estimates only two-thirds of young married couples are in their first marriage, compared to 83% in 1960.
The high divorce rates mean children often live in “blended households” – a household with a stepparent, stepsibling or half-sibling. In 2015, 16% of children were in blended families, and it’s predicted to increase as young adults wait longer to get married.
While divorce has long-term effects on children, it doesn’t mean they can’t develop healthy relationships. They need strong role models, from parents and stepparents alike, to show them how to connect with others and what to look for in a potential spouse.
Luckily, both types of parents can easily do that through the divorce process and long after. All you need is time and dedication to your child.