Blended families are becoming increasingly popular and will soon become common sense for a family where all the parents have children from their previous relationships, but all the family members are considered as a single unit. In simpler terms, a blended family is also known as a step-family or a reconstituted family, where a couple forms their life together with children from one or both of their previous relationships.
The parents may be in a same-sex marriage or relationship, or may not have kids with each other. These children may have been biological or adopted from a previous marriage. However, some modern blended families may not have married parents; instead, cohabitating parents would play the same role.
While blended families are rarely easy, these tips can help your new family work through the growing pains:
Work as a team
For your blended family to work together successfully, you must put your parenting house in order. Step-families need to spend time together in order to bond and figure out new relationships. It is helpful if parents and step-parents can seek consensus on household rules and how to cooperate together. You can arrange family meetings to solve rising problems and issues that may disrupt the atmosphere.
Such meetings also allow all family members to have some kind of role in the house; this can be great for young children who might feel they are not being listened to. Furthermore, family meetings allow families to catch up and check in on each other, something that can be rather challenging and difficult in a large household.
Embrace new family traditions and customs
Since children in a blended family spend most of their time moving from one house to another, one parent to another, it is important to establish rituals and traditions and accept old customs. This helps smooth their transition and helps them feel more like they belong in the family. Traditions help children and parents recognize each other as a family and tell them who they are and where they belong; additionally, these customs also show what is unique about this particular family. A family cannot be a family without traditions. It is vital to help develop your own customs and celebrate old traditions that you may not have been a part of, as this shows a huge amount of respect and maturity.
One of the most successful tips for keeping your family together is to be civil towards one another on a regular basis and maintain good communication and bonds with each other. Research shows that one of the primary sources of children's problems after a divorce or separation is the inability of parents to keep their negative feelings about their ex to themselves or reconcile their relationship.
Since children take their emotional cues from their parents, it is important to deal with your ex-partner maturely and sensibly, even if they are vested in keeping the fight going. It is also necessary to never bad mouth them in front of their children; this would only worsen your relationship with the kids and your ex-partner.