These days, family life has been changing. Couples find it easier saying yes to cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage. The result is the rise in the number of blended families. Blended families refer to the type of modern-day family in which two families combine, creating a new single unit.
Having a stepparent, stepsiblings, or half-siblings can induce a whole new set of stressors. For one, many kids find it hard to accept the fact that their parents can move on without the other. This means that new rules are to be imposed, new connections are made, and new adjustments are in order. This can result in lots of challenges to the new couple when it comes to parenting.
If your family is blended, then you may be facing the following issues:
Other people’s comments affecting your new family
Other people will always have something to say about your family. Even some of your loved ones may not have the nicest words to say about the new members or the decisions you have made. Developing positive self-concepts within the family and not letting others affect you are the best ways to handle the situation. Try to focus on the good and do not let the children focus on other people’s comments.
One parent or child is withdrawing from the rest of the family
Is anyone in the family now secluding themselves from other family members? Are you finding it hard to communicate, bond, or understand what they are thinking about? Have you tried every possible approach but failed every time? Then the best way to handle this is through family counseling. A family therapist can help you develop the best plan to handle even the biggest family conflicts, including a member withdrawing.
Rivalry between the kids
Children often don’t have a say on whom their parents can marry and who their stepsiblings will be. They won’t even get to decide whether the new parent is to bring in new kids. A deepening sense of sibling rivalry is a common issue in blended families. What both parents can do is to ensure that all the kids get to spend quality time with them. Whip up basic rules that the kids are expected to follow, avoid favoritism, and treat them as unique individuals with different needs.
Parenting your partner’s kids and vice versa
Parenting has never been easy. What more if you are now a new parent to your partner’s kids? The same goes for your partner parenting your children. What you can do is to talk with your partner about the new arrangement. Support all the children during the transition and find ways to gain the trust of your new kids. Draw the line and know that the biological parent should always be the disciplinarian.
Being in a blended family is nowhere easy not just for the new couple but also for the kids. With all the changes and adjustments one needs to face, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. The good news is that blended families can work things out only if all the members are willing. It will never be an easy arrangement. But if all the family members love, trust, and respect each other, you can make your new family work.