The Brady Bunch

(Mat 19:8) He said to them, Because of your hard-heartedness Moses allowed you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so.

From 1969 until 1974 The Brady Bunch aired on network television and to this day is seen daily as re-runs of the original episodes are aired on various channels. The Brady Bunch depicted a widower Mike Brady who has three boys and marries Carol who has three girls we never know whether Carol is a widow or divorced. Through all their ups and downs The Brady Bunch was depicted as perfect and a model for all blended families. Fast forward to 2013 and we find some very in some cases troubling statistics.
According to the US census bureau 1,300 step families are formed each day, 500,000 adults become new step parents each year, 35 million parents are step parents ,18 million children live in step families. The number of households with step children has doubled in the last ten years. Now I could not find a break down for how many step parents were divorced in comparison to those whose spouse died. What I did find were some very troubling statistics when it comes to children. The following were found on the website circle of moms.

**Abuse and Neglect of American Children Has Increased 134% Since 1980
**Physical Abuse Has Increased 84% Since 1980
**Sexual Abuse Has Increased 350% Since 1980
**Emotional Abuse Has Increased 333% Since 1980
**Child Neglect Abuse Has Increased 320% Since 1980
*Since 1990, 10,000+ American children have died at the hands of their parents or caretakers.
* Four children die every day in this country from child abuse and neglect.
* In 2000, over 3 million children were reported as abused or neglected in the U.S.

**The safest family for a child is a home in which the biological parents are married. **Cohabitation, an increasing phenomenon, is a major factor in child abuse. **Child abuse is prevalent in “communities of abuse” with family breakdown. **The lowest risk ratio for physical abuse is one in which the biological parents are married and the family has always been intact. **Abuse is 6x’s higher in the second-safest environment: the blended family in which the divorced mother has remarried. **Abuse is 20x’s higher if the child is with biological parents who are not married but are cohabiting. **Abuse is 33x’s higher if the child is living with a mother who is living with a man.

God never intended for husbands and wives to divorce and unlike the TV show The Brady Bunch some real life blended families experience some very serious issues and problems often never spoken of outside of the family unit. For those considering remarriage put the needs and safety of your children first. The Bible speaks of counting the costs consider the effects a blended family will and can have on your children. Everyday blended families do function and work. However there are far too many horror stories of all forms of abuse via step parents and step brothers or sisters. Getting along is tough in biological families consider
41 percent of first marriages end in divorce.
■60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
■73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.
In America, there is one divorce every 13 seconds. That’s 6,646 divorces per day, and 46,523 divorce per week. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years. People wait an average of three years after a divorce to remarry (if they remarry at all). The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old.

Before you blend families measure the risks versus the rewards. Would you be able to face your children should their step parent, step brother, or step sister abuse them in any manner. I would advise any couple that is considering blending families seek both intense spiritual and professional counseling prior to blending families. The best option may actually be remaining celibate and not having any form of marriage or relationship until your children are grown and gone. They’ll appreciate you for the sacrifice that you made because as you know they are worth it Be Encouraged and Blessed Minister Mike.

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