Cultivating harmonious and happy relationships in any family comes with its difficulties, but attempting to blend two different families can have its own unique bumps in the road. It can take time for stepfamilies to find a positive pace that works for everyone.
The earlier years can have their own challenges. Not only are the couples getting to know each other better and building their own relationship dynamic along the way, there are also very important relationships with stepchildren and biological children that also need to be nourished.
There are many ways that you can make sure that you have positive relationships with your stepfamily. Take the steps necessary to ensure that you end up with a healthy blended family.
3 STRATEGIES FOR BLENDED FAMILIES
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It is important that you support your children along the way. This is a very critical transition for them, especially if they are moving back and forth between different households frequently. Big feelings are easy to erupt, and small incidents will set children off a lot easier. Make room for the feelings to be realized after they have been away for a while or are leaving for another house.
Be sure to allow for extra time when transitions are happening, in case those big feelings do surface. This way you can spend extra time paying extra attention in the house before and after those transitions are being made. Always listen to and support your children and their feelings when they are overwhelmed.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE CHALLENGE
Even though all you may want is for everyone in the new household to get along, it is no small feat to blend two families into one as you learn to co-parent with a new partner. It will take a lot of work to figure out how the new family unit will handle discipline, money, childcare and many other issues that need to be agreed upon. It can seem like an uphill battle, but it is certainly doable once a plan has been put into action. Acknowledging that it’s not going to be easy, but will totally be worth it is a great step to take.
BUILD A BOND
Realize that by adding new members to the household, your children (and your step-children) may be worried that they are going to miss out on some of the activities and time they used to get with you/their biological parent one on one. The best thing you can do is facilitate those existing bonds by not eliminating traditions you already had, but simply building on them.
If you had one on one days with your daughter, keep doing that, but also make a point to add “family” activity days where you all get together and participate in something fun. Let your stepchildren also have an input in what things you participate in.
The truth of the matter is, blending a family isn’t going to be easy from the start. It is important to set realistic expectations, instead of picturing an immediate big happy family. There will be bumps in the road, but with a little bit of work and a whole lot of love, it will most certainly work out.
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