Blended families are when the spouses have children from previous marriages or relationships and blend the children and spouses to make up a family unit. Blended families can consist of one or multiple children from various past relationships. Whatever the case may be, blended families are all unique and equally beautiful.
While it’s a bonus to marry someone with children from a previous relationship, there can be some challenges along the way. Keep reading to learn some tips for how to blend a blended family for a smoother transition.
1. Don’t Force it
Preparing children for a new stepparent can be a challenge in and of itself. Add in blending children with different parents under the same roof and forming a family unit, and you have a whole new challenge. Blending families is a beautiful thing, yes. However, for some members of the blended family, it can be a rough start. Therefore, you’ll want to be careful in how you approach the transition, especially for the children involved.
One of the most important tips you can implement is not to force anything on anyone. Is a stepparent anxious about caring for their nonbiological child? Is one of the children nonreceptive to their nonbiological parent? Are the children having difficulty getting along with one another? Whatever the case, make it a point to give each family member some space and don’t force anything. Relationships will develop naturally, and each member of the family is more likely to be receptive to all of the changes if they’re not forced into anything.
2. Establish a Plan
Having multiple children often means a busy schedule for the family, especially if the children attend different schools or are involved in different extracurricular activities. Adapting to everyone’s schedules in your new blended family can be difficult, so make it a little easier by establishing a plan.
Your plan can be as simple as determining which parent will handle school drop-offs and pick-ups to a more complex one, like which parent will be attending certain after-school activities or weekend activities. Keeping track of everyone’s schedules and displaying it in a central location can help all members of the blended family to know what to expect for upcoming events. Understanding what to expect, whether it be a change in who is taking them to school or which sibling they’ll walk home from school with, can help make the transition into a blended family a little easier and less of a shock.
3. Blend & Adopt New Traditions
No two families are the same. We all celebrate holidays differently and are involved in different activities and hobbies. Blending a family with diverse traditions can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Blending and adopting new traditions will help both sets of families adapt better if they don’t have to give up their traditions. Likewise, it can be a real bonding moment to adopt new traditions that are new to everyone so they can share something.
4. Put Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes
It’s challenging enough as one of the parents in a blended family; there are new schedules and responsibilities to adapt to, and new relationships need to be formed. Imagine how difficult it can be for a child or children who are used to a certain lifestyle and are expected to blend perfectly with other children and a new parent.
The slightest change in a child’s routine can present problems. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, keeping a consistent routine can help children feel more comfortable as they adjust to a new situation. Put yourself in your child’s shoes to understand how they may be feeling. Then, try your best to keep their old routine similar as you blend both families. It can be as simple as keeping their bedtime and morning routines the same, eating dinner at the same time, etc.
5. Schedule Honest & Open Discussions
Each member of a blended family is held near and dear to your heart, so why not schedule honest and open discussions every so often? Having a place for everyone to meet and discuss issues or concerns and how to remedy them can help all blended family members feel heard and loved. Someone may be feeling overpowered, while another may feel they need more one-on-one time with a parent. Whatever the case, scheduling discussions can help everyone feel better as they adapt. Improving communication can do wonders for each family member.
By following the tips above, you’ll have an easier transition as a blended family. Not forcing anything, establishing a plan, blending and adopting new traditions, putting yourself in your child’s shoes, and scheduling honest and open discussions can help everyone make an easier transition to blending a blended family.
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