When you have children from your previous relationship/marriage and you decide to marry a new partner, know that you are forming a blended family.
It may not be alarming, but it definitely comes with its fair share of challenges.
For instance, your or your new spouse’s children may not be excited about the marriage. And as such, they may give away several signs to tell you that they do not like the prospect of a blended family.
Nonetheless, these problems should not mean that you can’t make your blended family successful.
- For starters, rather than trying to make your new family a replica of your first family, you should try to embrace the differences.
- Even if the family members try to act civil towards each other regularly, know that you are on track. At least, they are not ignoring each other or completely withdrawing from the family.
- Being respectful is critical towards nurturing a healthy family relationship.
- Give room to everyone for growth as a family. Respect each other’s space and allow them the time they need.
How To Plan Your Blended Family?
Surviving through a painful separation and finding love in someone else can create a rush of emotions. Know that it could be tempting to enter into a remarriage without first assessing the repercussions.
It is, perhaps, important that you take some time and a chance to everyone related; a chance to get used to each other and blend in.
Here’s how you can do it.
Avoid The Rush
First of all, as mentioned already, you must avoid too many changes frequently. You need to allow yourself and your children to settle in. And understand the outcomes of your remarriage.
Experts in family counseling explain that couples who wait for at least two years before remarrying are more likely to make a successful blended family.
Develop Ways To Experience Family Life Together
Spending some time with the family members before remarrying can help develop love and affection.
You can plan a trip together. Or you can go for a weekend dinner together. The point is love and affection for each other will grow as you spend more time together.
Implement A Few Parenting Changes Before Marriage
When you plan to make a blended family together, you know your spouse, and you may not have the same parenting habits. One of you may a too overprotective, while the other could be lenient and adjusting.
You should try and implement some changes in your parenting habits before you marry. Perhaps, you should try implementing these changes a few months or at least a year before you marry.
Lower Your Expectations
You know how the adage saying goes expectations often leave you hurt. Well, it is certainly one of the major reasons why blended families often fail.
You may display affection and compassion towards your new family, but you should not expect the same in return. Remember, everyone needs their own time to adjust to the new surroundings and the new family.
These simple gestures can help you make a successful blended family. Perhaps, if many of these fail, you’d know that the other partner is not the one for you.
Bonding With Your New Family
Paying attention to your stepchildren’s needs is one of the ways to bond with them. But, know that it’s not always the same.
For instance, a toddler may have no needs. In contrast, a teenie may need freedom and emotional understanding.
The point is, age, gender, and personality will all decide how well you bond your new family. And, of course, how quickly you bond.
Create A Safe And Secure Environment
The first thing that you should do is to help your stepchildren understand that they are in safe company.
Children, especially adolescents, may have trust issues. And you should try to be the parent they can count on. Show them you can keep them safe and protected, no matter what.
Show Them Your Affection
Little gestures like appreciated your stepchildren for their achievements or cooking them breakfast can go a long way. It shows you care about them and their life.
Affection, as already mentioned, does not develop overnight. So, you shouldn’t try to rush into it, but instead take small steps gradually.
Value Their Opinions
Kids often feel neglected in blended families. It seems they feel their parent’s love is divided between them and their step-siblings.
You should try to value their presence in the family. Show them that their opinion still matters, and they have every right to say their thoughts in a safe space. For example, you can talk to them and ask for ideas about a home makeover project.
Set Routines And Rituals
As a new family, you should have some rituals of your own. The reason being, family rituals help form the foundation for new traditions.
Studies suggest children who attend family rituals are more likely to be attached to the family. And you want your children to blend in and feel attached to their new family.
Help Children To Adjust To The Change
As already mentioned, not every age is the same, and children may have different needs at different stages of their life.
For instance, if your stepchildren are young (below 10 years of age), they may adjust more easily. All they need is care and affection from you.
In contrast, adults or teenagers may be more difficult to bond with. During these years, they are already going through a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally. And they may not be ready to adjust to yet another change.
Besides, gender also affects how well and fast you bond with your stepchildren. For example, girls may be uncomfortable with physical displays of affection from a stepfather. Whereas boys may accept a father figure more easily.
Perhaps, you should first try to adjust to the change yourself. Learn about your new family. And give them time to adjust.
Putting in little effort, time after time will surely help develop positive relations between your family members.