Whether you have a new partner or your former partner has remarried, blended families can be tough for all family members to navigate. And what works for one blended family may not work for yours, because it’s definitely not a one-size fits all category. To help you make the transition to a blended family more successful, try following these five key strategies.
Being clear about your boundaries is always important when you’re co-parenting, but this becomes even more crucial when another parent and other children join into the mix. You and your fellow co-parent(s) need to make sure that you’re all on the same page when it comes to household rules and responsibilities, and do your best to make these boundaries and expectations consistent across all households.
Has your household ever held family meetings? This might be the time to start having them regularly. With more moving pieces in your newly blended family, it’s important to make time for family check-ins on a regular basis. Without making these check-ins a priority, blended families may struggle with effective communication, particularly when it comes to discussing difficult or sensitive topics.
We all know that the terms “stepmom” and “stepdad” are loaded with negative connotations, so how can we work together as blended families to fight against that? Through shared activities, mutual respect, and empathy, all parental figures can work to build positive relationships between stepparents and their stepchildren. Your children might initially feel torn between their loyalty to their biological parent and their budding relationship with their new stepparent, but it’s important to try to support their new bonds.
Blending families can be a fantastic opportunity to combine existing traditions from both sides of the family. Start by thinking about how you can honour aspects of each family’s rituals, such as how you celebrate certain holidays. You can also work together as a family to create some entirely new traditions or activities to help strengthen your new family bonds. Remember to get the whole family involved in coming up with these new traditions, to help foster a sense of ownership and connection for everyone.
If your family is really struggling to work together and conflicts keep arising, you might want to consider seeking out the help of a licensed family therapist or counsellor. By working with a professional during the early stages of your family transition, you’ll help make your family blend together better in the long run.
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