Step Family: A Happy Family?

I have always wondered as to how Shobha De, the said-to-be Jackie Collins of India manages her extended family. It’s quite a large family you know, with children from her ex husband and children of her current husband and then another child (or is it two?)  from her current marriage. It already is such an uphill task maintaining harmony in a family with a kid or two today. Hats off to her.

But then, this is not some tribute to Shobha De, it is about the concept of a stepfamily that is catching on in many places. Although we still have people marrying once and raising a family with children born from the same parent there are instances when a man or woman marries the second time and either brings in his/her son/daughter from the previous marriage. Then, it becomes a double responsibility and connecting task for the spouses.  Unless, efforts had been taking while courtship, marrying into a family already with a child can really be very taxing. You not only have to adjust to a mate’s sense of space, you also have to be sensitive to the whims, fancies and emotions of a child who is biologically not yours.  It is easier when you marry when you are older and all your children are settled. At such a juncture it does not matter what your son’s/daughter’s families think about your new ‘liaison!’  It also keeps you from shirking some parental responsibility when your biological child is growing up with your ex-spouse and you only have to make weekly or monthly visits and pay for the maintenance.

In the US and in some other countries, such families (where you marry with a brood of children already in waiting) are known as step families or blended families. It is more of a general occurrence there as most of the families do not insist on a strong family base like we have in India. It is a different matter that we in India are now taking pride in adopting many of the temporary and materialistic Western concepts including live-in relationships, marriage of conveniences and worthless and whimsical divorces! So, in India too we have step families, but in another context.

When a spouse passes away suddenly and a child needs a mother/father, when a growing son/daughter needs the guidance of a sit-at- home mother – such instances usually invite a second marriage here. Of course, as society advances, reflexes fail, tempers and egos rise, reasons for ending a marriage and going in for another also take place. Here, people may often go in for a (or let’s put it like this – fall for) another person who has already experienced marriage or who does not mind getting married to someone who has a kid in tow.

We may have been told cruel stories about step moms but not all step parents are bad. Many just want to relate to you and connect. Imagine what a difficult task they have, love their husbands/wives, cater to their needs, respect (or, at least show respect) to the ex relatives, current relatives of their spouse and also show love (at least pretend to initially) to their step children.

Many a time, in the course of building up a relationship with the children, the relationship with the spouses could take a back seat leave one wondering whether this what one actually wanted with the conflicts, rejections, resentment, stress and trials.

All the same, it is a fact, that a step family, though a wee bit different from the usual traditional family has more challenges making it more fun. You get a whole new set of perspectives and find unique ways to stay together as one family unit, something which we may take for granted in a traditional family. In a step family, one is willing to take the trouble to make the family work together as a team because there are more chances of breaking even before forging, of rejection even before acceptance.

For all the people who live in a step family or should I say a ‘blended family’ either as step fathers, step mothers, step daughters or step sons,  a step family unit is the Almighty’s second chance to you to experience the happiness and joy of a family.

Happy Step Family Day!

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Step Family: A Happy Family?

  1. The thing is, it can go either way. It all depends on the maturity and responsibility quotient of the adults involved. I beleive Ms. De has done a marvelous job with her own brood of ‘yours, mine, and ours’!

  2. Hi Indrani. Nice to find your comment the first one here.

    Yes, it definitely depends on the maturity of the person.
    I agree with you on Shobha De. She has indeed done a great job although I must admit I wouldn’t want to be in her position as mother of so many kids solely because I just wouldn’t have been able to manage it all!

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, Shail. I have been reading your blogs for a few months now. And I find with every blog, your words are sharper, ideas clearer and presentation more wholesome. I wrote a short story called Role Play which talks of the difficulties of a teenager in trying to relate to her step-mother. The one short story which made every one cry. Now I think after reading that story your blog should be a prescribed reading for them for understanding the nuances better. (Incidentally that story is available in IL in my forum).
    Looking forward to many more such things from your desk, Shail.
    sridhar

  4. Dear Sridhar,

    Thanks a lot for your generous compliments. I must be careful and not get carried away with the praise:))

    I will definitely read that story in IL. I am sure it must be great. Step parenting is not easy. Also very difficult is coming to terms with the fact that one’s parent is willing to leave the past behind and carry on life with another mate. In short, bring someone else to take the place of the parent who has gone away (from one’s life or from life itself).

    Thanks again.

  5. For all the people who live in a step family or should I say a ‘blended family’ either as step fathers, step mothers, step daughters or step sons, a step family unit is the Almighty’s second chance to you to experience the happiness and joy of a family.
    Amen! 🙂

  6. In the US and in some other countries, such families (where you marry with a brood of children already in waiting) are known as step families or blended families. It is more of a general occurrence there as most of the families do not insist on a strong family base like we have in India.

    The US swears by family values and ties as one of its core values besides independence and democracy 🙂 Though more media attention is paid to divorce rates and broken families forgetting that there are always some kind of families in existence at all times besides hetrosexual two parent families; thus reducing them to an ebbration.

    …we in India are now taking pride in adopting many of the temporary and materialistic Western concepts including live-in relationships, marriage of conveniences and worthless and whimsical divorces!

    Live-in-relationships were always there is India. Elite men had mistresses or second wives that they supported in a separate household. Those men who could not get married due to what ever reasons in aggrerian communities could bring in a woman from another community and live with her without a prpoer marriage and their children were considered legitimate.
    Marriages of convenience were there too; strategic political alliances.
    Worthless and whimsical divorces are rampant in aggrerian communities. Unmatched tempraments, quarellsome nature, love affair all are good to go on next Nata 🙂

    Now the western part here is middle classes taking up these traditional practices and blaming them on the west. More over women deciding the future of a relationship that is bothering the middle class morality.

    In India second marriages are common for men but are marred by cindrella’s step mother comples, be it through folk stories or mythical Ramayana. The second wife is expected to accept the widower/divorced man’s children as her own. Even man’s extended kin work overtime in poisoning the ears of these motherless children against their husband’s new wife who is yet to bond with him. In aggrerian communities widowed or divorced women too get a chance to beget second husband through regional customs like Nata” or “chaddar chadai.” These women are expected to leave their biological kids with their father’s kin or her parents. In the affluent sections )read middle class) they may be given a choice to send them to boarding school or marry them off if they are daughters as new marriage is more important than her biological ties. I personally know dozens of women with children struggling with thought of marrying or being with their biological children.

    Shoba De and Pratish Nandi are handful of affluent icons that have been able to make it work by grace of their social station. It is still very difficult for a woman with a child to find a mate, take a glance at the matremonial ads.

    Did understand the concept of Traditional Family. Please elaborate.

    Hetronormativity just makes every thing else seem abnormal 🙂

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

  7. Shail,
    I agree to some extent, how hard it is to work as a team, which Almighty has given a second chance to have a happy family. But that does not lie only in parents hand, it also rests on the step-children too..

  8. Bhargavi :
    Shail,
    I agree to some extent, how hard it is to work as a team, which Almighty has given a second chance to have a happy family. But that does not lie only in parents hand, it also rests on the step-children too..

    Dear Bhargavi,

    Thanks. Yes, the flexibility and change has to come from both sides.

  9. girlsguidetosurvival :
    In the US and in some other countries, such families (where you marry with a brood of children already in waiting) are known as step families or blended families. It is more of a general occurrence there as most of the families do not insist on a strong family base like we have in India.
    The US swears by family values and ties as one of its core values besides independence and democracy Though more media attention is paid to divorce rates and broken families forgetting that there are always some kind of families in existence at all times besides hetrosexual two parent families; thus reducing them to an ebbration.
    …we in India are now taking pride in adopting many of the temporary and materialistic Western concepts including live-in relationships, marriage of conveniences and worthless and whimsical divorces!
    Live-in-relationships were always there is India. Elite men had mistresses or second wives that they supported in a separate household. Those men who could not get married due to what ever reasons in aggrerian communities could bring in a woman from another community and live with her without a prpoer marriage and their children were considered legitimate.
    Marriages of convenience were there too; strategic political alliances.
    Worthless and whimsical divorces are rampant in aggrerian communities. Unmatched tempraments, quarellsome nature, love affair all are good to go on next Nata
    Now the western part here is middle classes taking up these traditional practices and blaming them on the west. More over women deciding the future of a relationship that is bothering the middle class morality.
    In India second marriages are common for men but are marred by cindrella’s step mother comples, be it through folk stories or mythical Ramayana. The second wife is expected to accept the widower/divorced man’s children as her own. Even man’s extended kin work overtime in poisoning the ears of these motherless children against their husband’s new wife who is yet to bond with him. In aggrerian communities widowed or divorced women too get a chance to beget second husband through regional customs like Nata” or “chaddar chadai.” These women are expected to leave their biological kids with their father’s kin or her parents. In the affluent sections )read middle class) they may be given a choice to send them to boarding school or marry them off if they are daughters as new marriage is more important than her biological ties. I personally know dozens of women with children struggling with thought of marrying or being with their biological children.
    Shoba De and Pratish Nandi are handful of affluent icons that have been able to make it work by grace of their social station. It is still very difficult for a woman with a child to find a mate, take a glance at the matremonial ads.
    Did understand the concept of Traditional Family. Please elaborate.
    Hetronormativity just makes every thing else seem abnormal
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Dear V,

    Thanks for your detailed reflective views.
    Yes, every country does insist on family views but not all are able to put them into action. I agree that media hype is more on the negative occurrences like divorce, etc but it is a fact that many foreign nations do have weak family values basically because of the fact that independence is their main value, be it in an objective and fair manner as far as work, efficiency is concerned or matters like freedom from family is concerned. Many people think that moving away from home to work is an honour which is not exactly the case. It may give you independence and confidence and all that but it leaves your family behind in your priority list.

    Agreed, that live in relationships, etc existed before but it is more on the rise now. Maybe, as you say, it is gaining society’s acceptance now that’s why we see it more but is it bringing in any positive change. That is what I wish to know.

    Yes, women with children do find it difficult to get mates when compared to men. But the women that do have some challenges ahead of them. I am not talking about the situation existing for women in general. I am talking about women who do manage to get into a marital relationship where there are kids already.

    Well, I can talk only from my point of view. As far as I believe and know, a traditional family is the usual family of husband, wife and children. Yes, the definition of traditional family has moved away a wee bit from the orthodox Papa, Mamma and children now-a-days. You also have single parents or a couple with no kids phenomenon.

  10. Dear Shail
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving an appreciative comment. I think I have read your blogs earlier in Indus Ladies. Any way shall come back to read more. I need some time to go thru’ your blog. till then….

  11. That’s a a nice post. step families may be an alternative for many to get back the sense of togetherness, to ward off loneliness and a shoulder to support in case of problems.

  12. manchitra :
    Dear Shail
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving an appreciative comment. I think I have read your blogs earlier in Indus Ladies. Any way shall come back to read more. I need some time to go thru’ your blog. till then….

    Dear Chitra,

    Hi! Good bloggers must always be appreciated. That’s my motto but I don’t always succeed in that since there is so much talent out there.
    It was a pleasure reading.

  13. manchitra :
    That’s a a nice post. step families may be an alternative for many to get back the sense of togetherness, to ward off loneliness and a shoulder to support in case of problems.

    Dear Chitra,

    Nice that you liked this post. Take your time. Would like to see your comments whenever you get the time.

  14. Relationships are breaking out of the mould and need time to define itself with regards to the times. A woman’s life is difficult and ever-changing which needs adjustments in the roles she plays as wife & mother. This changes her outlook and the outlook of others towards her in a relationship. Things need to settle down.

  15. Nalini Hebbar :
    Relationships are breaking out of the mould and need time to define itself with regards to the times. A woman’s life is difficult and ever-changing which needs adjustments in the roles she plays as wife & mother. This changes her outlook and the outlook of others towards her in a relationship. Things need to settle down.

    Absolutely Nalini. Outlooks and attitudes indeed change with time. Some become more matured while some become cynical but it is a fact, that women do have problems whatever situation they may be. Either due to circumstance, men, society or due to themselves!

  16. Dea r Shail,

    Wonderful blog.Shobha de has even adopted a girl child i think.which is something really great.

    This was addressed in the seventies movie Khatta Meeta, and yes it does guive a second chance to the couple.

    Very good one Shail.

    Regards

    kamal

  17. kamalji :
    Dea r Shail,
    Wonderful blog.Shobha de has even adopted a girl child i think.which is something really great.
    This was addressed in the seventies movie Khatta Meeta, and yes it does guive a second chance to the couple.
    Very good one Shail.

    Dear Kamalji,

    Nice to see you here and with the lovely comments too! Coming to the article, yes, it does give any couple a second chance and the children too. For both, there are new roles to play and hopefully make the best of.
    Regards
    kamal

  18. Hi
    I am thinking about taking pro hormones, do you think this is good idea for advanced bodybuilder like me?
    People are satisfied with the results after prohormones cycles, just google for – prohormones factory – worth a try?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s