|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:
- A widow or widower who had children with the deceased spouse, and later re-married.
- 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.
Meanwhile, please answer these questions: Why are we so quick to believe that stepmothers are wicked? What about stepfathers?
*Image Source: Pinterest