Blended Family Happiness: 8 Steps
We’ve asked our experts for advice on how to put together a successful stepfamily.
You want to have a happy blended family? Here are some tips. Add a little bit of parent and a little bit of new spouse. Children, stepchildren, jobs, and new living situations are thrown into the mix. Voilá! A stepfamily, a blended family, or just the insanity of my life can be difficult to navigate the second time around. But don’t worry; it can be accomplished!
Let’s start with the facts.
Raising a family, whether it’s a blended one or a biological one, is never without its ups and downs. For remarried couples with children, the most prevalent source of conflict is their children, according to national research. Begin with a good outlook, a willingness to put in the effort, and reasonable expectations.
Set up a fresh parenting strategy.
A blended family does not carry on the legacy of the previous union. A new creation necessitates new rules to account for the addition of new players and new parameters.
Consider creating something entirely new rather than attempting to accommodate the new people, places, and circumstances. The depiction of a mixed-race family is incorrect. A smoothie isn’t what you’re doing here. A fruit salad, more precisely! In other words, not all of the ingredients will be able to mix together perfectly.
Promote mutual respect, open dialogue, and empathetic behavior.
It’s critical to cultivate a sense of respect for one’s family members. Watching the tone of conversations and being aware of how things are going for everyone else in the relationship, particularly the children, is essential.
Stepchildren and stepparents cannot be made to like one another, but it is feasible to set standards for polite behavior and open communication between the two sets of individuals. Because there are so many additional elements at play in a blended family, respectful communication is even more critical.
Invest in one-on-one time.
In some cases, spending time apart can be the best thing you can do for your new blended family. Stepparent-free time is essential for parents and their children. It is important for the spouse to have some time apart from their children. They also need time alone with each other without the presence of the biological parent. As a result, each member of the stepfamily receives exactly what they need from the others. Individual ties within the stepfamily might be bolstered for the benefit of the entire group.
Permission must be granted before any action may be taken.
Guilt and insecurities can ensnare stepfamilies, as well as conflicting feelings. Allowing family members the freedom to feel, grieve, express, love, and act might help alleviate some of the tension. Give your spouse the freedom to spend time with his or her biological children without feeling guilty about doing so.
Make it okay for your stepchildren to dislike you. Permit your children to like your ex’s new spouse, but don’t force them to do so. Spend some time outside in nature and forgive yourself for not spending time with those you care about.
Allow for the natural development of relationships, but also look for ways to aid in that development.
As a parent, you can’t compel your stepchildren to fall in love with these new additions to the family, but you can discover ways to help them along. The development of these relationships will be aided by shared experiences, one-on-one interaction, and shared existence. In my opinion, stepfamilies should be aware from the beginning that being a stepfamily is a journey, not a one-time occurrence.
Be prepared for hiccups and make necessary modifications.
Whether you’re raising stepchildren or biological children, you’ll have to adapt your parenting style as they grow older. Stepfamily dynamics can also cause children to lash out in order to see how far they can go in a new environment. A child who is experiencing a sense of powerlessness may try to manipulate one of their parents or perhaps cause a rift between the two of them. Your stepfamily is not doomed, so don’t take this personally. The stepfamily’s ebb and flow can be worked with.
Look for Assistance
To get your stepfamily or stepparenting off to a good start, look into therapy, coaching, or other forms of help. Whatever the circumstances, no two stepfamilies are exactly the same in terms of the dynamics of their families, the dynamics of their families, or the pieces that need to be put together.
A neutral third party can help you navigate the waters of your individual scenario if you seek professional counseling. As a result of family therapy, everyone has an opportunity to express their thoughts in a safe environment, and mutual agreements can be reached with the support of a neutral third party. Stepfamily success can be achieved with the use of this information.