No one ever said bringing a blended family together would be easy, especially if you happen to be a reality star. Chelsea Houska of Teen Mom 2 is being slammed by her ex, Adam Lind, for letting their 6-year-old daughter, Aubree, refer to Houska’s new fiancé as “Dad.”
Lind, arguably one of the more troublesome exes in the Teen Mom franchise, with several arrests on his record, has predictably taken to social media to criticize how Houska has introduced a new man into their daughter’s life. Lind’s reaction to Houska’s now-fiancé moving in to her home and later proposing was to clarify on Instagram that “Aubree does NOT call Cole dad… Nor she’s even want too.”
Lind went on to explain that he protected Aubree from “being corrupted” by thinking another man was her dad.
Lind has found himself in a tough situation that isn’t at all uncommon, especially when you factor in having kids at a young age. As much as we’d like to hold on to the pretty picture of a dad, a mom and two kids with a white picket fence, this type of nuclear family just isn’t the reality any longer. A 2014 study from the Council on Contemporary Families tells us that the nuclear family is on the decline, with some possible benefits. One of the biggest advantages is that families now come in all shapes and sizes, and living with a single parent or a stepparent is no longer stigmatized.
With this kind of tip in the balance, the odds are that the merging of families is going to happen to you or someone you love. Because people are getting married later and often having kids “out of order,” more than 41 percent of kids are born outside of marriage, according to the latest Pew Research statistics. While exact stepfamily stats are hard to nail down, at least 15 percent of children today are living with two parents who are remarried.
As much as Lind wants to fight it, a stepparent has every chance of making an appearance in Aubree’s life, on one side or the other. What really counts in this situation is how all parents handle the transition to make the addition of a new family member smoother and less confusing for Aubree.
Suffice it to say, there are better ways to go about the tumultuous introduction of a new stepparent than posting about it to social media. Blended families that have gone down this road before know it can be disastrous if the integration of a new stepparent isn’t handled with care.
The American Psychological Association estimates that it could take anywhere from two to four years for a new stepfamily to adjust to its new dynamic. A nonresidential parent who remains consistently and actively involved has a huge impact on making the stepparent transition easier on the kids. And as Ron L. Deal, president of Smart Stepfamilies, points out, it’s perfectly normal for a young child to start calling a stepparent “Mom” or “Dad” right away and to stop later in their adolescent years.
Anyone who has been part of a blended family knows that the change can be tough, even in a best-case scenario. But in this instance — with a debate raging over whether Aubree will be “corrupted” by another father figure — the answer is simple. It’s called co-parenting. This stepdad-as-dad issue could have been settled easily with a grown-up conversation outside of social media. The drama of a new stepfamily quickly dies down when everyone agrees to put the kids first.