The process of forming a blended family can be both a rewarding and challenging experience for all family members. As much as you and your partner might approach your union with great enthusiasm, your children may not be as excited.
However, there is hope. With open communication, love and patience, you can develop a strong bond with your new blended family. Here are a 8 tips to help blended families.
Don’t rush into things
This is one thing that I wish my husband and I had done differently. We met in March. By April the following year we were enjoying our honeymoon. What can I say, we were in love and we didn’t want to waste time! Which means we didn’t give ourselves a chance to lay a solid foundation for our new family. It’s essential to take your time so that everyone can get a chance to get used to each other and the idea of forming a new family. Bringing two families under one roof is not easy, so don’t rush the process.
Your marriage or relationship will get tested. Over and over again. Without a solid relationship, there’s no family, so your relationship with your partner should come first. While most new couples without children get a few months or years to build their relationship, you are more likely to be consumed by your children if you have a blended family. You need to lead by example. If your kids see love and respect between you and your partner, they are more likely to follow suit.
Don’t take things personally
The reality is most children struggle to adjust to the new blended family. Your stepchildren may say or do hurtful things, but most of the time, it’s not about you. I struggled with this at the beginning of our journey. I took things personally, and I suffered immensely as a result of that.
Kids of different ages and genders adjust differently to the new family.
I remember desperately looking for blended family tips on the internet. I came across an article that suggested that it could take ten years for a blended family to form a loving and successful union. I sobbed uncontrollably because there was so much turmoil in my family at that time, and we were only in the second year of our marriage. I couldn’t imagine living like that for another eight years. Needleless to say, we are in year nine, and I now know that this is a lifelong journey. So be patient.
Chances are your parenting style is different from your partner’s, or one of you may have never been a parent before. Either way, you will need to find a consistent guideline about rules, chores, discipline, etc. If you don’t work on this, you may become a source of frustration for the children.
I would also recommend that the biological parent should remain the primary disciplinarian until the step-parent has established a solid bond with the children. Instead, use that time to get to know your stepchild.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. If you’re feeling frustrated, reach out to an experienced professional to help you along on your journey.
You will make mistakes, and so will your partner, so forgive yourself and your partner. Don’t keep things bottled up. Instead, try to address conflict positively.
Just like any other relationship, we must nurture our relationships with our kids. Be intentional about spending one on one time with your biological kids. That is one of the best ways to demonstrate they are still a priority in your life. Remember, blending two families is a massive transition for them, so kids deserve to enjoy some alone time with their parents.
It is possible to establish a successful and affectionate blended family, but it will take time. Do you have any tips for blended families? Please let me know in the comments below.
Photography: Elsie B Photography