In attempting to understand the blended family system, one would be remised if we did not first look at, and understand primarily what a family system dynamic is. Unfortunately, this is a theory that once had very clear cut lines; today those lines are a little burred and more subjective than ever before. Given that the family is an ever changing system with fluid boarders, this author will illustrate some finite distinctions that may separate the typical family system from a blended family system.
Family systems have been studied since psychologists began studying people and their behaviors. The family is a dynamic system—a self-organizing system that adapts itself to changes in its members and to changes in its environment (as cited in Sigelman & Rider, 2009). Allowing the focus of a family system to grow beyond the mother and child relationship did not happen overnight. For many years, there was no connection made between other members of the family and the developmental issues of the children involved.
If we take a minute to explore Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Human Ecological Theory, we can see that the intricacies of family are deeply imbedded in the center of the Microsystem around which, all other systems stem. The Microsystem is the underpinning of the Chronosystem, the way in which environmental effects develop over time; also the way transitions, such as divorce, affect the individual’s growth and development (nacce.org). The nuclear family, consisting of he father, mother and at least one child (Sigelman & Rider 2009) is not always what we think about when the topic comes to family. In today’s world, with divorce and remarriages, there has been a shift in how we as a society define family. It has become more per...
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