Here in North America, almost half of all families make up some form of blended family. While blending two families together can result in a beautiful new family, filled with unique bonds and relationships, it can also come with its share of struggles. To give you and your new partner your best chance at success, we’ve outlined a few things to consider when becoming a blended family.
It won’t necessarily be easy, and there will definitely be bumps in the road, but if you put in the time and effort needed to bring everyone together, your blended family can be stronger and happier than you’d ever imagined.
What Defines a Blended Family?
By definition, a blended family consists of a couple residing with children they have had together and/or children one or both of them has from a previous relationship.
Important Considerations to Make
There are a number of things to consider when becoming a blended family. These may include understanding how the changes coming about will affect each member of the family individually as well as how the family, as a single unit rather than two separates, will change and grow and evolve into a new entity.
Changes to Routine and Ritual
As an example, each family, as a separate unit, will have their own rituals and routines. Rituals, also commonly referred to as traditions, are a set of behaviors that are often repeated and have significant meaning – they are a way of transferring family values, history, and culture from older generations to younger ones. Routines are the ways by which a family gets through their day-by-day lives – they are often essential to functionality of the family unit. Trying to create a blend of both families’ routines and rituals can be difficult – but it is possible. You can even combine the blend with new rituals and routines unique to your new blended family.
Some other examples of things you will need to consider before blending your two families are:
• How moving homes, schools, towns, etc., will affect each child
• Establishing parenting boundaries between step parent and step child
How to Ease the Adjustment
There are a number of ways that can help both, you and your partner, as well as each of the children involved, get through the transition from living separately to becoming a single unit and go as smoothly as possible.
Find Activities That Unite
A great way for new blended families to bond is to find activities that everyone enjoys and do them together. By choosing activities that are enjoyed by everyone, you are ensuring that everyone feels included. Group activities are a fun way for everyone, especially the children, to get to know each other and bond with their new siblings/step-parent.
Spend Time on Individual Relationships
While spending time as a family is important to get to know one another and bond as a unit, it is also important for you, as parents, to nurture your individual relationships with both, your biological children, your new step children, and even your partner. The stronger your relationships are with one another, the stronger you will be as a whole.
Visit a Family Therapist
Even if there are no apparent issues with your new family unit, visiting a therapist is not necessarily a bad idea. Therapy can be a great way to provide every family member with a safe and neutral space to air their feelings. In fact, talk therapy may help to improve communication and mitigate issues before they become problems – and what better way to ensure a smooth transition into one big happy family than to fix potential problems before they even start!
Do you have any more advice for new blended families? Have you tried any of these methods and found them successful (or unsuccessful)? We’d love to hear from you!