Do you remember television shows like The Brady Bunch, where a single father of three sons married a single mother of three daughters? Or Different Strokes, where a single father adopted two sons of a different race? These shows took us into a world of blended families. If you don’t know precisely what a blended family is, let me explain. A blended family consists of parents that raise children or a child that is biologically not one of theirs. Basically it has “step” father, mother, son or daughter involved in the equation.
My family entails of two older children from a previous marriage. However we decided using terms or labels such as “step father” or “step children” divided our family. When in fact the purpose of a family is to be united and uplift. After having our first child together we knew it was not feasible for us to have one child saying “daddy” and another saying “step dad” or “pop-pop”. Calling my husband by his first name was not an option because he wasn’t their friend. Calling him uncle would be an outright lie. And since he fulfilled the role of a daddy it was only right for them to call him what he was, “dad”.
From a child’s perspective if I am consistently reminded that I am not your biological child by calling me your “step child” when the time comes for correction I tend to feel like you the “step parent” aren’t correcting me like you would your (biological) child. This child can begin to think he/she is being treated unfair, which ultimately adds up to not feeling loved equally; Feelings that can lead children to become emotionally unstable adults.
Words have tremendous power and by us knowing that we made a decision to verbally empower our family. Many think children in blended families are at a disadvantage from the start so we didn’t want to help that myth grow within our family. We have no “step children” or “step parents” in our home. With older children this process may have more challenges. It may sound and feel uncomfortable to say “dad” or “mom” at first, but just know it takes developing. Although our family is blended we do not continuously remind ourselves of that fact, we simply live, love, talk and succeed as a family…. That just happens to be blended!
By Tameeka Williamson
Tameeka is married to Rodney Williamson they have four lovely children. She is the author of “All Is Forgiven, When Rooted In Love” and is currently working on her second book.