Blended Family Dynamics Case Study

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Family dissolution and eventual reconstruction is not an uncommon experience in the United States. Focusing specifically on a child’s ability to adjust positively to having a stepparent could assist family life educators to develop ways that potentially make this transition easier for children and adults who struggle with this shift. The following is an overview of a blended family whose members all had different perspectives on how they viewed being involved in a blended family dynamic. The purpose of this in-depth look at a blended family is to further explore the relationships between stepparents and stepchildren and the correlation, if any, to a child’s ability to have a positive reaction to adjusting to a new family dynamic.

The Montoya-Griffith
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This theory observes individual family members but also looks at the family as a whole. The human ecology theory is valuable because it looks at the different ways in which families come together to successfully incorporate tasks and functions into their everyday lives. The human ecology theory proposes that biological, social, and physical environments are all important factors in an individual's personal…show more content…
When examining the relationship between Jamie and her stepfather Gary, it was noted that Jamie had a difficult time adapting to the changes and still does not believe that she has a positive relationship with her stepfather. When Helen and Gary got married the family experienced a change in who held power within the family. Jamie was once in a position where she had a level of influence within the family system and after several years of Jamie fulfilling this role, Gary was now in a position where he had more control. The decision of Helen and Gary to change the power dynamic in the family was difficult for Jamie to adapt to. Jamie’s identity in the family was based off of her perceived vision of the roles she fulfilled. The shift in the family hierarchy happened at such a sudden rate it created a hostile environment for all of the members of the family system as each individual tried to figure out what their new role in the family was.

The blended family is an extremely complex system. As Ganong and Coleman (1994) noted, stepparent and stepchild relationships are typically considered to be the most challenging and stressful relationships within a blended family dynamic. Unlike other relationships, stepparent and stepchild relationships are often involuntary. This can leave very little motivation for stepparents and stepchildren to build a relationship. The family systems theory and the human

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