Life Story - Rachel Ring
There is no question that being a part of a blended family has an effect on the children involved. How does this process effect the children involved and what occurs in their life and their behavior as a result? To discuss this topic further we will read some thoughts and recommendations from Rachelle Rings, a Middle School teacher, about some the affects that a blended family can have upon children and how to support children going through the process of a blended family.
Have you found that there are any differences (such as personality, emotions, character, etc.) between children from blended families versus children from traditional families? If so what are these differences?
Question 1 Answer
I cannot say that these answers always hold true but, I have had many fabulous students from blended families who seem to be socially, emotionally, and educationally successful. On the other hand, I have also had children from blended families who seem to have difficulties dealing with social issues at school and keeping up with academics. For me, it has more to do with the support they receive from the home in general. If there is a parent or parents who are willing to provide structure, discipline, and love, that child seems to be more successful in the classroom.
I do see that the majority of discipline issues in the classroom tend to be students from blended families. Out of the twenty-seven detentions I wrote last year, twenty-two of them were students from blended families. Six out of eight of my write ups this year have been for students who come from blended families. Many of these students are repeat offenders. Some of these students did reach out and talk to me about the struggle of dealing with divorce and the hardships of parents being separated. I also see a similar pattern in homework completion. Most students who consistently miss homework assignments appear to come from blended families, although this particular area is more difficult to quantify.
Many of the students from blended families seem to have a more difficult time realizing how their actions connect with future consequences. I believe that clearly explaining to them that their actions directly impact their future is an important discussion to have with them.
Have you found that children from blended families need to have any additional support, or need to be approached differently, then children from traditional families? If so how?
Question 2 Answer
Some of these students do receive additional supports that our school provides. We have counselors come in to work with students. Again, I do not have a specific percent but the majority of my students who see a counselor on a regular basis during school come from blended families.
What do you feel are keys things that are needed in order to help and support a child as they are going through the process of a blended family?
Question 3 Answer
I believe that being patient with them is very important, as they need time to process what is happening. I can surely see how it could be easy not to have a focused mind when their life at home feels like it is falling apart or is not settled. Although a teacher’s spare minutes throughout the day are few and far between, allowing a student to have the time they need to talk and share with you what they are going through can have a tremendous impact.
Although I cannot directly share my faith with my students, I can still show compassion, love, and support in hopes they can see Jesus through me. People never forget the way you make them feel and I always try to err on the side of being too kind rather than taking a chance and saying something that could break a spirit.