How Do Families Accomodate New Dynamics?

The average family, what used to consist of a father, mother, 2.5 kids, home in the suburbs and a dog seems to be farther away from the norm these days.

Someone that I work with is divorced. Her ex is preparing to remarry and the “soon to be bride” contacted my friend about the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. The question – how will it be celebrated and who gets to decide? The new family or the old? The kids or the adults? Or do we just skip it altogether?

My co-worker, who has taken the high road as often as possible, bends to the wishes of the new wife especially since very soon, her mother is joining the equation, adding another layer to the family dynamic.

The bottom line? Finding ways to make it right for the kids, keeping lines of communication open, being empathetic, taking the tempting childlike behavior out of the mix and trying to be as harmonious as possible.

The umbrella of the word “family” has grown and changed to include so many different people and challenges can arise if we have expectations that just aren’t realistic.

Just because our own definition of family may differ from those around us, it doesn’t mean it is without value.

Here is the dictionary definition:

–noun 1. a. a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.

b. a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for: a single-parent family.

2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.

3. the spouse and children of one person: We’re taking the family on vacation next week.

However, your definition may not include someone related to you by blood. Or your family may include multiple generations (i.e. the sandwich generation).  More often than not, with the divorce rate so high, your family may include many step-loved ones and their children and children’s children. The important thing is that you treat each other with respect and love.

So how do you define family?

If you ask a teen they will probably say their friends are more of a family then the people they live with. If you ask a married couple they may point to each other rather than including the people they grew up with.

What does family mean to you and how do you define it? Weigh in with your thoughts on our Facebook page.