Blended families are becoming much more common in American households, but this doesn’t mean the transition into one is easy to make. After going through and surviving a divorce, and finally finding a new loving relationship, some couples can often rush into a marriage without taking the proper steps to lay down a strong foundation.
When this happens, the children of this new blended family can resist changes and suffer as a result of any conflict between biological parents or the alterations to their living arrangements. Additionally, parents can experience frustration when their new family fails to act the way their old one once did. At Rice Psychology Group, we understand it can take time to adjust into a blended family. However, our team of psychologists in Tampa knows that proper planning can help ease this transition.
Now that you and your partner have decided to take the next step to build a life and family together, you’ll both be tasked with bringing your children from previous relationships (if any) under one roof. Chances are this sounds scary, but it can be just as rewarding. Just keep in mind that it can take time for a blended family to click and truly feel comfortable with each other.
One of the most important things you and your partner should keep in mind is that your kids may not feel nearly as excited as you to start this new stage in their life. It’s natural for them to feel like these new changes will affect their bond with their natural parents in some form. You can additionally run into problems if your children don’t know or don’t get along with their stepsiblings. You want what’s best for your family and will do anything to ensure their happiness, which is why you should plan ahead before your new union comes into fruition.
Building strong foundations for your new blended family is a must. Although this is easier said than done, there are a few key points that will remind you which things to prioritize as your blended family begins to take shape:
- Too many changes are overwhelming – It’s important to ensure that there be a considerable window of time between a divorce and a new marriage instead of bringing an immediate change into the lives of your children.
- It takes time to develop love – Chances are you won’t begin to love your partner’s kids immediately. Take time to know them and let your love for them develop naturally.
- Bond with “real life” experiences – Taking both sets of kids out to a park for a day of fun sounds amazing, but it’s important to get them used to you and your partner in daily situations that are reflective of real life.
- Agree on parenting methods before a wedding – Chances are you and your partner’s parenting styles are different. Decide on what your parenting will be like and make changes before you’re married.
- No place for ultimatums – You may run into situations where your partner or children will directly, or indirectly, ask you to choose between them. If this happens, remind them you won’t allow ultimatums and you want both of them in your life.
- Respect is a must – You may not be able to force your family to like each other, but you sure can ask them to be respectful.
- Be patient – Although you may give your partner’s children copious amounts of attention, love and affection, it may not be immediately returned in the way you’d like. You’re making a big investment that can someday provide a big return.
Guidance When You Need It
It’s not uncommon for you, your partner or the children of your new blended family to become frustrated, stressed or angry over your new union. While these desperate times may seem endless, there’s still plenty of hope for you to hold onto.
At Rice Psychology Group, we understand that you want what’s best for your family, even when you feel like the odds are against you. If you, your partner or children are struggling with the aftermath of a divorce or the new emotions brought on by a new union, know that our Tampa psychologists are ready to help. Let us have a conversation with you so we can work together to find the solution to your situation.