The Ugly Truth About Blended Families | HuffPost Life
Some common challenges for couples in blended families include: Becoming a This can be difficult for someone entering a new relationship. No matter how strained or difficult things seem at first, with open It's harder to take care of the marriage in a blended family because you don't have . you and your spouse intend to deal with issues in a similar and fair way. People who marry again, or people who are in a relationship with someone who has visitation, and/or financial support issues; stepsibling relationship problems. The list goes on and on. Successful blended families are difficult to achieve.
One of the greatest sources of tension in stepfamilies is dealing with discipline. Children learn trust when they experience fair, effective discipline. Disagreements between parents about discipline often invite manipulation from the kids, who quickly learn to pit adults against one another to get what they want.
Therapists suggest that you and your partner develop a list of values you both want to teach, such as responsibility and honesty.
Then tackle your beliefs on parenting. Next, draft a list of household rules, such as how much screen time each child gets or when bedtimes are. Of course, developing a strategy may seem easier said than done. It can be particularly difficult for a new stepparent to start laying down the law.
Form an alliance with your ex-spouse. The bottom line is children need their parents to work together whether married, divorced, or married to other people. Set the intention to have a compassionate and supportive co-parenting relationship.
Blended Families: The Only Marriage Advice You'll Ever Need
A few things that help co-parenting is to make transitions as smooth and positive as you can between houses, communicate with the co-parent regularly, and do not use the children as messengers. Keep in mind that even if you are able to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship, your child may still experience emotional distress. Use routines and rituals to bond. Creating family routines and rituals can help you bond with your new stepchildren and unite the family as a whole.
Plan to incorporate at least one new family ritual such as Sunday dinners, a weekly game night, or special ways to celebrate a family birthday. Establishing regular family meals, for example, offers a great chance for you to talk and bond with your children and stepchildren as well as encourage healthy eating habits. Surprisingly few parents talk with their children about what to expect when two families come together into a stepfamily.
Children will be curious about the changes in their daily lives. They may be concerned about their physical and emotional safety. They may be uncertain about their financial, residential, or emotional security. Parents can tackle challenges as they listen to their children in a meaningful way.
Understand each person has an identity. One of the primary issues that makes life in a stepfamily so challenging is that each person belongs to more than one family identity: Biological and step children can have complex feelings about their own sense of belonging, especially when figuring out their identities.
It is easy for any member of step families to feel lost, left out, displaced, hurt, and angry 2. Some things you can do to help is to make sure everybody has a space of their own, regardless of how much time each spends in a home.
Overcoming Challenges In Blended Families
Attention that used to be theirs alone is now divided between them, new stepsiblings and a new adult love. A stepparent brings new expectations and unfamiliar traditions and habits. A stepparent is a living, breathing grief trigger; an adult whose very presence reminds the child that their biological parents are no longer together. How children feel about the stepparent themselves is a catch of overwhelming proportions: The child is trapped in a loyalty bind at seemingly every turn.
A blended family also includes a host of extended family. Extended family that try to include the new partner and children or include the exes or all of the above. Extended family that rushes in with love and attention or stays away for fear of scaring children off. All of it well-intentioned and born of love, and all of it can sometimes feel wrong. Imagine a child has been given a puzzle to assemble, with a pretty picture on the box. Then, we give the child a handful of extra pieces.
Make it work, we tell them. The picture on the box is different from what you have now. Figure it out, it can still be fun. What child would choose that? Adults are often wildly unprepared for stepfamily life.
Studies continually show that stepfamilies who begin their life together with a romantic, first-family approach fail. It is equally inappropriate to ask the children how much money should be spent for the purchase of a new house.
Navigating the Challenges of Blended Families
In a situation in which two families are coming together because of divorce and remarriage, boundary lines may feel fuzzy for a long time until new routines and rules are established. This is why it is vital for the new couple to fully support each other in encounters with the children.Relationships Are Hard, But Why? - Stan Tatkin - TEDxKC
As a therapist I find it discouraging to read all the E. Mails from people who complain that their new spouse seems to have time only for the biological child while they go ignored.
All the talks and complaints appear to be of no avail. To repeat, the reason for the deafness on the part of the biological parent is often due to guilt feelings in relation to their son or daughter. However, this is no excuse. Adults must engage in two difficult tasks in blending families. The first task is to set very clear boundaries.
Setting boundaries means that adults consult one another before decisions are made. It also means that adults support one another while the children are present.
There is plenty of time for discussion when parents are alone and can discuss issues in private. This is where the second task comes in. Both parent and stepparent must have private adult time with one another. This refers to the importance of doing things without the children being present. None of this is meant to imply that adults act mean, harsh or authoritarian with the children. This need not be. Firmness does not refer to being cruel or nasty.
In addition, lines of communication must always be kept open in all families so that adults and children talk with and listen to one another. Your comments and questions are strongly encouraged.