In the spirit of a ‘new year’ and ‘new thoughts’ as it relates to resilience and kids and what we model and teach our children, I wanted to share a personal story with you all. It was a reminder and maybe a wakeup to me that so much of what we teach our children of how to navigate the world comes not just from what we say and do in the home; but how we respond to the world at large; our judgements and our values.
I was describing our family to a new acquaintance the other day. Our family with our 6 children. 3 of those kids are my step-children and 3 my bio kids. I don’t distinguish; I’m responsible for them all and love them as any parent loves their children.
And yet, for maybe the 50th time, I was asked if our kids ‘get along’? The inference being that because we have a family with siblings of different parents, they wouldn’t.
It was surprise to my audience that indeed, our children do ‘get along’. In-fact they adore one another. They miss each-other when they’re not together and there is a lot of noise and laughter and love in our home when they are under our one roof.
I have met and spoken with many blended families with different sibling relationships and I consistently hear the same thing…family. The stories that have been shared are ones of joy and companionship, never rivalry or dislike. They include families with half siblings and families with step-siblings only.
Why is it that we as a society assume, that if a family comes in a ‘different’ package from what has ‘historically’ been defined as a family, that there is an automatic assumption of hardship and difficulty?
There are hardships in being a blended family, no doubt about that. But those hardships rarely have anything to do with a relationship between siblings, rather the assumption that society makes about those family relationships.
I want our kids to grow up and be recognized for how fortunate they are to have siblings; to have sisters and brothers; an extended family. Why must we use the label “half-siblings” or “step-brother/sister”. Does it matter? No to me, not to my children.
If you meet us; be delighted for us; consider us fortunate. Not because we have 6 kids from different parents who get along; but because we have a loving family. A resiliently, loving, complicated, blended family.