Every child is different and adjusts to being part of a blended family differently.
Blended families are created when two adults share a relationship or home, after having children previously. This adjustment in family life can take time for both parents and children.
To help your new blended family be successful:
- A solid relationship. Parents in blended families usually don’t get “couple time” prior to having children. Give your relationship with your partner time and energy, keeping it in balance with your children’s needs. A solid partnership is the basis of a solid blended family.
- Clarity of roles. Let your children know that your new partner is not a replacement for their other parent, but another adult who can love and support them.
- Healthy communication and respect across all age groups can help avoid unnecessary conflicts. For the children’s well-being, also have as open and healthy communication as you can with other sets of parents and family members.
- Awareness of child development. Even though your children may be the same age as your partner’s, they may be at different developmental stages. Never compare children, but be sensitive to the unique needs and gifts of each child.
- Give room to grow. As your blended family spends more time together and starts to feel closer, take advantage of opportunities to do fun activities as a whole family.
Every family is unique. Differences in parenting, such as discipline, rules, chores and daily schedule can cause tension.
Tips on discipline within blended families:
- Before bringing your families together, come up with consistent guidelines for your children, in order to decrease frustrations and feelings of unfairness for the children.
- Support your partner to form a friendship and mentoring style of relationship with your children, rather than disciplining them.
- Be the primary disciplinarian to your child until he or she has formed a solid, trusted bond with your partner.
- Create a list of family rules and agreements, discuss them with all the children together, and then post them within your home. Consider the rules that all the children follow in their other residence and, if possible, be consistent.