Blended families of young to adolescent children

Starting a blended family is a great new opportunity in your life!  It can also leave you with some questions.  What is the step-parent step-child relationship going to be like?  If there are step-siblings are they going to get along?  How do you deal with cultural differences, or differences in established patterns and routines?

These are all legitimate concerns, and while there is no magic answer here the key (as is always the case) is effective communication.  Effective communication has to start at the top with you and your spouse, so we’ll address that first.

When issues arise between you and your new spouse try and take a moment to remind yourself that you are not in a relationship with your ex-spouse and to not compare the two relationships.  Communicate to your partner your feelings about what is causing you stress or discomfort and what you need from them.  Also, communicate what you would like to have happen instead of assuming things will just fall into place or your partner can read your mind.  

It is also important in blended families that you and your new spouse discuss how you want to be parents to your family, what role each parent will play in the children’s lives and how you will support each other.  Once you are on the same page have a family meeting with the children to discuss with them how everyone in the family wants to work together.  

In this family meeting you will be discussing family rules and guidelines that everyone can come up with and consequences if a guideline is broken.  Give the children a voice; this is a great opportunity to hear from the children’s perspective how they see and interpret the family.  The family meetings are set up to be fun.  Order a pizza or cook a favorite meal, and end with playing a game.  Also discuss fun family activities that are unique to your family.  

These are just a few ideas that can come into play with blended families.  Please call 727-565-2551 to discuss any further questions you might have about how I can be helpful in managing your blended family, or click here to schedule an appointment.