blended family strengths

Blended Family Strengths: How to Grow Your Bond by Finding the Good

Do you know your blended family strengths? Blended families have unique challenges. But did you also know they have strengths?

First, the discouraging news. If you live in a blended family home, then the odds are stacked against you. According to The Bonded Family website, “70%+ of remarriages involving children end in dissolution within 5 1/2 years.” This means Blended families have a low chance of success.

The bright side is that your blended family also has strengths. My amazing wife, Jenny, has often remarked that the blended family challenges we faced early on in our marriage drew us closer together. The two of us learned to work together fast because we had to. Jenny is right, and our challenges became a blessing in disguise.

This post is especially for blended families who would like to defy the odds by focusing on their blended family strengths.

[Tweet “One quick win to increase bonding between parents, step-parents, and kids, is to focus on the good.”]

Discover Your Blended Family strengths

Years ago, when I was a camp counselor, I heard the infamous story entitled, You Walk Good. This story has gone down in camp history. It’s about a camp counselor and an especially challenging camper. This camper was so difficult that the counselor requested that she be moved to a different cabin. The camp director’s solution was far different. “No,” he said. “I want you to find something good about this camper and compliment her.”

“But there is nothing good about this camper to complement,” the counselor replied.

“Does she walk?”

“uh.. yeah…” replied this now confused camp counselor.

“Then tell her she walks good,” the director stated.

According to this legend, the counselor took the advice to heart. She complimented the camper on walking good, and this compliment laid the foundation for a growing relationship. Not all of their challenges were instantly resolved. However, the counselor and camper did survive the week together, and they actually began to get along toward the end.

Blended families can learn from this by finding their blended family strengths and highlighting them often. So, what’s going good in your home?

Finding the Good in Blended Families

Finding the good in our blended families isn’t always easy, but it is powerful. Cognitive therapists suggest that blended families who hone in on the negatives will feel bad about their families. On the other hand, blended families who hone in on their blended family strengths will enjoy their families.

If you’re a step-parent, one of the best things you can do is focus on your step-kids’ good points. Diving into a parental role is never easy. But it is easier when a strong relationship is in place. One of the quickest ways to strengthen the step-parent, step-child bond is to focus on the good. Ask yourself:

  • What is good about my step-son or step-daughter?
  • What does he or she do well?
  • What is a tiny compliment that I can give? (If you can’t think of anything, then try “You walk good.”)
  • What are the blended family strengths in your home?

Blended Family Strengths Brainstorm

What does your family do especially well, and what virtues do you possess? If you’re not sure, gather a few ideas from our blended family strengths brainstorm:

  • We love each other—warts and all.
  • Our family laughs and has fun together. 
  • We have family traditions we enjoy.
  • Our Blended family likes to spend time in one another’s presence. Simply being together is a strength.
  • Helpfulness is what our blended family does. When one member is struggling, the others are there.
  • Joy is present in our blended family home.
  • A steady kindness is present in our home.
  • Our blended family strength is that we love to serve. If you need help, we’ll band together and pull you through. 
  • We are known for our faith. Honoring Christ is key in our blended family home.
  • Sports is what brings our family together. We are active, healthy, and love to be on the move together.
  • We are generous. Our blended family home loves to give to others. 

Do any of these blended family strengths apply to you? If so, then you are well on your way to finding the good in your home.

Getting Started with Strengths

The key is to start small and build momentum as you go. Over the past five years, I’ve watched discouraged families focus on the good and feel better about themselves and their families. Shakespeare’s famous quote, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,” continues to ring true today.

I believe so strongly in helping blended families focus on the good that I wrote an entire chapter about it in my book Coffee Shop Inspirations. Be sure to check it out. 

Finally, keep the conversation going by letting us know a few of your blended family strengths in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you and wish you your blended family an incredible week as you focus on the good!

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Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

6 thoughts on “Blended Family Strengths: How to Grow Your Bond by Finding the Good”

  1. The biggest thought that hit me while reading this one was regarding the failure statistic. I think some people may read that and feel discouraged or anxious, like the numbers are some kind of barracuda, circling, circling, closing in …

    Jed, you described it as “beating the odds.” And that is correct in the figurative sense. But “the odds” are in competition with anyone. The odds are doing anything.

    The truth is that statistics aren’t animate. Nor do they fall from the sky into your life or home like the “sky” in the story of “Chicken Little.” Statistics describe. That’s it. They have no actual power. In this case, the statistics describe choices – choices that are 100% within the collective control of the family members involved. No one and nothing outside the family unit (and really the couple themselves) can make the choices involved in staying together or calling it quits. That choice is 100% within your control.

    1. Absolutely! I like your perspective on choice. And it’s so true, the statistics are just that–a static. They don’t have any real power over me or my family, or over anyone else in a blended family home.

      However, they do serve as a good warring to not naively assume that our families will be OK. Many others have tried and failed. Thus, wisdom and lots of positive choices are needed 🙂 Love it!

  2. I think my families have defied the odds but not by much. Maybe it had everything to do with the 7 year itch. I experienced two dissolutions as kid in blended families. They lasted 7 years each. My first attempt at marriage ended at 7 years and was a blended family. I’m praying that this time all works out and I can defy the odds. This time I’m the parent and not step-parent or child. Hoping my experience as a step parent gives me some insight to what my wife is experiencing. I do know that my marriage is off to be better foundational start because we centered on God and He is a huge part of our lives.

      1. Not to mention that the Bible is full of examples of blended families for us all to pay attention to. I think that is something that is largely overlooked when it comes to families and relationships.

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