Every family has its share of ups and downs but these seem more pronounced in blended families.
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Bringing together two distinct families comes with its own set of problems and it often takes a while for stepfamilies to find a balanced parenting method or an arrangement that works for everyone.
As a stepparent, it can be difficult to find your parental footing in the new family. You’ll have to nurture your relationship with your partner as well as build and sustain one with your stepchildren.
Things can get more complicated if both of you brought children into the new marriage.
With such a mix of personalities and ages, it’s only natural to expect some challenges. Children of any age are especially sensitive to the changes brought about by blended families.
They might see you as an imposter in their family and you’ll be a constant reminder that their biological parents won’t be together again. If both you and your partner have children, it can mean that these kids suddenly find themselves thrust into unfamiliar roles.
For instance, your eldest child might now be the youngest in the new family. Alternatively, a child who was used to being the only girl or boy might lose their uniqueness.
When kids from either parent are involved, some uncertainty, resentment, disappointment, anger, and resistance is to be expected. You, therefore, need to be patient, loving and respectful as you work through any issues that arise and inculcate positive parenting techniques.
Keep in mind that the whole family will need time to adjust to the new changes. But, you must continue with your practice of positive parenting to overcome the blended family challenges.
Here are some positive parenting tips, and tips for blended families to help you steer through the growing pains of the parenting method in blended families.
Keep lines of communication open
In order for a parenting method in a blended family to work, there needs to be clear and open communication between family members.
Lack of communication breeds misunderstandings and disagreements which can eventually split the family into warring sides.
To prevent this, make a habit of discussing family issues as soon as they arise. Give everyone, including the kids, a chance to voice their opinion and listen respectfully when they do.
Get on the same page with your partner
It can be easy to keep doing things as you’ve always done, believing that your spouse will tag along. This can quickly make your partner feel like you don’t value their presence or opinion.
All kids, even teenagers, need structure in their lives. They thrive when there are clear boundaries and everyone knows what is expected of them. So, you need to adopt a parenting method, such that, it creates an ambient surrounding for your kids.
While you and your spouse should present a united front when it comes to disciplining the children, it’s better to let the child’s biological parent be the primary disciplinarian.
For blending families with children, include the kids when setting the rules and consequences and ensure that you’re consistent and fair when following through.
Create family routines and rituals
Include family routines and rituals as apart of your parenting method. The family rituals can help you bond with your stepchildren, bringing you closer together and giving them a sense of belonging and identity.
Instead of making sweeping changes to the already existing family rituals, try to find some common ground and see if you can incorporate some aspects as you create new ones.
Something as simple as regular family dinners, Friday movie nights, Saturday game nights or special family breakfasts on Sunday might be all that’s needed to give you a chance to get to know each other.
Don’t forget about your marriage
Blended families can be exhausting and it’s easy to lose sight of your partner in all the chaos. Keep your marriage alive by making time for each other in your daily routine.
Perhaps you can grab a coffee or lunch together when the kids are at school or maybe scheduling a date night works better for you. Whatever you choose, make sure that you prioritize your marriage.
No matter how strained things seem at first, with plenty of love, patience, mutual respect, and open communication, blended families can bond amicably. And, with effective and accommodating parenting method, you can have a close, rewarding relationship with your stepchildren.
As a father of four, Tyler Jacobson lends his parenting experiences for the learning benefit of parents everywhere. For years he has researched and writes for Liahona AcademyRead more and other organizations that help troubled boys, focusing on topics surrounding social media use, teenage education, serious addiction issues, mental and behavioral disorders, and abnormal teenage stress. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedInRead less
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