The Cultural Revolution, which began in the 20th century, has gradually undermined the survival of the family as a unit. Families are torn apart through divorce, death or abandonment. A balanced family environment, which is essential for the normal development of children, is threatened. Modern society views marriage with bitter cynicism and adds to its instability. In such a milieu, “blended families” or “step families” have an onerous responsibility to keep their new families functional.
“Blended family” is a term that has been in use for probably the last fifty years. The death or divorce of one partner may lead the surviving partner to remarry. Sometimes both partners may have been married before and have children of their own. When two such families blend, the number of people living under the same roof increases. This has potential for creating tension and conflict. The step parent is looked upon as an intruder because of preconceived ideas fuelled by the ‘step parent myth.’ When the situation is not handled diplomatically and with patience, the failure rate increases. When the children are teenagers or adolescents, the problem becomes even more difficult.