The term “blended family” refers to any household that includes multiple biological, legal, and emotional connections. The 2009 U.S. Census shows that the proportion of blended families continues to grow each year. Historical data shows that in fact, blended families have always existed, and the issues that they face depend on many social factors. In modern times, blended families are often concerned with parenting, step-parenting, household rules, expectations for behavior, and religious differences. It is fairly common for blended families to seek counseling for help with parent or stepparent authority, family bonding, and behavior problems.
Sacks Clinical therapists engage with blended families to assess their values and help resolve conflicts. Often this includes parent-training sessions, with only the household parents in the room. Family sessions may include children or grandparents as well. Occasionally, blended families prefer to include ex-spouses, especially if they share joint custody of children. Goals of sessions include creating consistent rules and expectations for children in each household, respecting bonds among various family members, and increasing feelings of cohesion.