When you remarry and have children, adjusting to a blended family can take time. Everyone in this position hopes for the best and that their family will just go together like it’s meant to be. However, that doesn’t always happen and it can be difficult for some to adjust to this new life. Here are some tips to help bond with your new family and make this transition as smooth and positive as possible for everyone – including your former spouse that you’re co-parenting with.
What do we mean by “blended family”?
A blended, or stepfamily, happens when you and your partner decide to make a life together (either through marriage or a common-law relationship) with your children from one, or both, of your previous relationships.
For the partners forming the relationship, they are coming in with joy and excitement for the future and what it will bring for their new family. For kids, though, it can be confusing and perhaps a little scary. They may have concerns about how this new relationship will impact the time/relationship they have with their other biological parent (if they have one) and they may even be hesitant about living with step-siblings.
Plan your blended family
Did you know that blended families have the best chance of success if you, as the couple, wait two or more years to remarry after your divorce? Too many changes at once can leave children feeling unsettled so they may not be as receptive to building a stepfamily right away.
Children can take longer than adults to adjust to life after divorce and the reality that their parents are no longer together. Take the time for everyone to get to know each other.
It’s also important to remember that bonding won’t happen overnight, and you may need to limit your expectations about the affection your stepchildren will return to you right away.
Give your children what they need
While all children will have slightly different needs and wants, there are some basic things that all children need and will need to have from their new stepparent Children want to feel:
Some children may be more open to getting to know their stepsiblings and stepparent, while others may be slower to open up to the idea of a new family. Letting your children set the pace can be very helpful in getting a positive response from them.
Agree on parenting and keep all parents involved
If you and your new spouse have different approaches to parenting, it will be helpful if you can talk about these issues before you blend your families together. This way, you will both be taking on situations with the same approach and the children will not get a different answer from each parent.
And finally, remember that it is really important to keep all parents involved in parenting – including the other biological parents. Make sure you children know that your new spouse is not replacing their mom or dad, but they are another person who will be there to love and support them.
Blending a family can be difficult but with careful planning and consideration for both sides involved, it can be successful and you will be enjoying life as a new family before you know it.
Contact Marcy Segal today
Do you need a family lawyer to provide assistance with your separation or co-parenting agreement? If so, contact me today.