We cannot change the fact that people remarry and when they do, they blend with their own children. It is not always easy to blend together due to the differences in upbringing, environment and expectations.
It is important to know that the walls need to be broken down so that it becomes easy. Remarriage can occur as a result of the death of a loved one or divorce. It can also be from single parenting to remarriage. Sometimes, the children may be finding it difficult to get used to the new reality of their attachment to the previous parent hence it has to be gradual.
Also, for you as a spouse, you also have to overcome the need to compare and expect things to happen in a certain way. Let us look into some tips that can make the journey smoother.
1. Develop Close Relationships Gradually: Allow the close bond to develop naturally over time. Don’t force bonding or expect instant connections. Encourage activities and experiences where family members can bond, but also give space for individual relationships to grow. It is important to also create routines that make this easier to happen. Encourage the biological parent to maintain a strong relationship with their children. Stepparents can support this bond while also building their own connection with the stepchildren.
2. Keep the Communication line open: The fact that you are two families coming together will require that you both encourage open and honest communication. Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings. Adjusting to a blended family takes time. Be patient with yourself, your partner, and the children as you all adapt to the new family dynamics. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a blended family.
3. Establish Roles, Rules and Expectations: Don’t assume that things will fall into place naturally. Communicate, don’t assume. Establish clear expectations and rules from the beginning. Discuss discipline, finance, chores, responsibilities, and boundaries with all family members involved. Consistency is essential for promoting a sense of fairness and stability. While doing this, respect each other preferences and concerns. You should respect the biological parents’ roles and vice versa. Avoid undermining each other’s authority and decisions. Present a united front in front of the children and discuss any concerns privately. In this way, everyone feels safe and respected.
4. Encourage Quality Time: To know each other well, you must choose to create time to make the bonding work. Spend quality time together as a family and in smaller groups. Find activities that everyone enjoys and can participate in. This helps in creating positive associations and strengthens relationships. Blend traditions from both sides to create new family rituals and customs. This helps to create a sense of belonging and unity.
5. Manage Jealousy and Sibling Rivalry Cases: Jealousy and rivalry can arise between stepsiblings, especially if they are close in age. Address these issues promptly and teach conflict resolution skills. Encourage them to communicate their feelings and find common ground. Recognize and celebrate each family member’s unique qualities and interests. Support their individual growth and development.
6. Seek Professional Counseling and Support: It is important to watch out for yourself while this blending is taking place, so, if necessary, consider family therapy or counselling to work through challenges and improve family dynamics. This effort can help with providing valuable insights and guidance. Remember to also take self-care seriously too.
Note that each blended family is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it is important to remain flexible, empathetic, and understanding as you navigate this journey together. If you need to speak directly for counselling, reach out via [email protected]