Blended families, according to William P. Fuller the author of Preparing for Blended Families, are those comprising of at least one spouse who has a child or children from a prior relationship. These types of families “are becoming increasingly common and present a unique challenge when creating an estate plan” (Fuller 1).
Similarly, according to Pauline Erera, “although traditionalists have held blood ties of consanguinity to be a defining characteristic of the family, others argue that we should define families according to the attachments and intimacy that individuals have toward significant people in their lives”, meaning even though they are a blended family, they should be considered a family none the less (Erera 352).
A nuclear family, or the more commonly known traditional family, consists of a marriage by holy union and the promise to keep that marriage holy by staying with that one person “until death do us part.
This includes the raising of any children within the family and the promise to provide them with food, shelter, clothing, water, and nourishment as well.
Yet, there is still a need for a law which protects the marriage itself. This law states that it recognizes husbands of inseminated women as the real fathers and denies parental rights to donors or step-parents. Although, we still leave room in this law for things known as adoption, foster parenting, or informal care by other relatives. This is where blended families begin to show. Blended families seem to be considered the result of a previous divorce.
Therefore, causing the need for the terms step-brother, step-sister, step-father, etc.
Blended families then seem to become less of a family simply because of the creation of these terms, and their specific meanings. For example, it seems to be less meaningful to be step-brothers rather than actual biological, blood related, brothers. In the article, Toward Revels or a Requiem for Family Diversity? , Judith Stacey states that “the social scientists seem to have presumed that well into the twenty-first century dad and mom would remain singular and unproblematic concepts” (Stacey 390).
Unfortunately, they were wrong. Although they predicted that the traditional family would remain unchanged, they seemed to have overlooked the fact that in time, marriage would not be as final as it used to be. There was no such thing as a proper divorce, once you were married, that was it. But in today’s world, “until death do us part” is not seen as often as divorce. Another overlooked remark of the social scientists is the fact that the family tree did not remain so “firmly rooted.
On the contrary, the family tree has been split, blended, mixed, crossed, and spread throughout several generations of families. The word Family, in today’s American society, has so many different meanings that it is hard to distinguish one from another. Being able to categorize every single definition of the word is a task that no one has yet completed. Although, each and every meaning has one little difference, it all comes down to the same thing. A family is a family.