Blended or Step Families in Nigeria: Painting a General Picture

I think the little ones on the left and right fell asleep while the other two were "kabashing"

I remember discussing family structures in our social studies class, back in secondary school.  These two types in particular, should be familiar to you: Nuclear Family and Extended Family.

Let's talk about the Nuclear family.

The Nuclear Family is "a family group that consists only of father, mother, and children." [Source] So, in this picture, we have a man, a woman, and their children (adopted and/or biological).

Lately, a particular variation of the nuclear family has caught my attention.  It's the blended or step family.

To understand what a blended family is, I think a few illustrations will help.

But first, a quick definition:

A Blended Family is "a family that includes children from a previous marriage of the wife, husband, or both parents."

The critical part of this definition, in my opinion, is the fact that there are children from a previous marriage.

This definition immediately excludes a family where there are children from a previous relationship (not marriage) of the wife or husband, e.g. where a woman who has a child out of wedlock gets married to a man.  Before reading this definition, I would have included this particular scenario under the umbrella of blended families.

Anyway, sticking with Merriam Webster's definition, these two examples would qualify:

  1. A widow or widower who had children with the deceased spouse, and later re-married.
  2. A divorced man or woman who had children with the ex-husband or ex-wife, and later re-married.

In short, death of a spouse or divorce are two common factors that precede the formation of a blended family.

By now, you're probably asking: So, Relentless why did you stuff our mouths with this mini-lesson?

Unserious answer: Because I can, can, can! And because your mouth was ajar ...

Serious answer: Because I want to start discussing issues related to the Nigerian family structure, and I thought this would be a good intro.  Happy now?

Granted that most of the images of blended/step families we see depicted in the media (newspapers, movies, etc) are negative (e.g. the wicked stepmother), I believe there are positive lessons we can learn from them, and we shall explore them together.

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, please answer these questions: Why are we so quick to believe that stepmothers are wicked? What about stepfathers?

*Image Source: Pinterest


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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