Blended families

human figures depicting a family


            ‘Parenting is never easy, but when you have a blended family, which may include your own biological kids, step-kids, your partner’s ex and your own kids from a previous relationship, things can become very difficult very quickly.’  

Forming a new relationship is challenging enough but when families “blend” to create a step-family many different problems can arise. Changes to the new family structure require adjustment time for everyone involved, not just for the parents who have decided to tie their lives together.

The children involved in this blended family, may not be nearly as excited as their parents. They may be worried about upcoming changes and how to deal with new step-parents and step-siblings. Changes in family dynamics will be enormous and can be very frightening to some children. Parents too, have to learn how to deal with children they may have not known very long, with different values and habits, to their own. All of these issues can cause stress in the new relationships.

To have the best chance of successfully blending families, rules and guidelines should be agreed before combining them. Seeking help from a therapist is often helpful before hand and is certainly recommended when it is clear that adjustment problems are arising that can’t be easily dealt with. These could include children becoming angry or aggressive, favouritism by parents and parents themselves finding that they are overwhelmed and resentful.

When communication is clear there are fewer opportunities for misunderstanding and more possibilities for connection between all parties. Time together as a family and separate couple time, also allows better communication and bonding to ensure that the new blended family works for every member.

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