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A blended family is often a balancing act between the new spouse, the new spouse’s stepchildren and your own kids. It might take years to bring about harmony in a situation like this, but it is not impossible.
It has become more and more common for couples to come together having children from their previous relationships or marriages and form a new family together. A number of dynamics come into play, and it takes a great deal of time and effort to combine families into a unit with harmony.
One must note that each family is different and coming together under circumstances that are unique to them can be challenging for every family member. What might work for one set of individuals might not work for others and expecting a transition to occur overnight might be disappointing and can cause frustration and anger.
At this time, the tips below can be very helpful to restore harmony and get all the members in sync with new family’s goals and expectations from each of them to make it happen:
Tips to Build Harmony in a Blended Family
1. Acknowledging the challenge
Bringing harmony isn’t easy and acknowledging it is half the battle won. You need to sit with your spouse to discuss money, childcare, how to discipline the children and other issues that you have yet to agree mutually on.
2. Calm discussions
Talking calmly and rationally helps not only to you but also to the children. Fighting in front of the children makes them think their parents are fighting because of them.
3. Be specific
Partners need to be clear and specific about what they need from each other to make themselves, and their children accepted and feel special. Complaining doesn’t help.
4. Mutually agree on the method of discipline
Your style of discipline might not work for your stepchildren. It is important to speak to your spouse about what works for his child and discuss what works for yours. Do not change rules overnight for the child.
5. Personal relationship
Develop a personal relationship with your stepchild. Setting aside special time for you and the child can help. You also need to stop thinking of the child as your ‘spouse’s child’ and regard the child as your own. Know that you are important in that child’s life.
There needs to be respect and willingness from all participants. You must insist that every member of the new blended family treats the other with respect.
7. Don’t go overboard
Sometimes a parent tends to believe that having no rules and being a fun parent can endear the child more. The real truth is that children need rules and stability in the new setup of a blended family, because they belong from two different homes with varying rearing practices. Making the environment as consistent as possible can help a child more.
It is easy to assume that children know and understand the rules of your new blended family. But it can be confusing for the children. Make the rules clear to your children if it means printing them out to clear the desired expectations.
Keeping expectations clear, lines of communication open and calm and not going overboard with a lack of rules, you can increase harmony within your blended family.