What is a blended family?

Adele Cornish, BSW

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I often get asked “What is a blended family?”

Simply put, a blended family is a family that includes children from a partner’s prior relationship.  Either one or both partners are a stepparent.

The term ‘step family’ is interchangeable with ‘blended family’ and is more commonly used worldwide to describe a family where at least one partner is a stepparent.

Now when a person brings children from a previous relationship into a new partnership it’s not uncommon for them to think the new blended family will operate in the same way a typical nuclear family does where both biological parents are present.  However it doesn’t.

The new blended family is made up of smaller family units which share blood ties.

Under pressure, there is a tendency for the blended family to divide along biological lines.