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Blended Family Stress to Blended Family Success!
May 11, 2020

According to statistics, about sixty-five percent of remarriages create blended families. The stresses that blended families face run from practical and logistical  issues to deep-seated emotional ones.

Here are the most present worries and solutions for parents of blended families:

Financial considerations. When there are different child supports and alimony involved, it is best if parents forming a blended family meet with a financial planner who can detail objectives so that both parents agree to the expectations and a financial plan that works before committing. (If you are already in your blended family, it is not too late to talk a financial planner and get some advice about how to come to the best solutions together.)

Making the Transition. In blended families, kids frequently move back and forth between houses. Depending on divorce agreements and prior arrangements, blended parents may have little input into how these transitions will impact their family. Accept in advance, visitation may not change to fit the needs of the new family.

Allow for private time with biological parents. As much as possible, step back and allow for private visitations with the kids and the parent from the family of origin. For example, if a parent has two dinners with their children a week, try to allow them to have those visits with the kids from the family of origin without the new children present. This may mean the other children may have to leave the house once a week so that the parent can have his visits with biological kids at the new blended residence without the stepchildren there.

blended family

Children are usually the last to be able to blend effectively. No matter how much parents want children to blend, they are not ready until they are ready. Any ambivalence should be honored and explored. Parents chose the blended family, not the kids. They have loyalties to their parents and families of origin, which will mean they need additional time to adjust and blend comfortable.

The strongest allegiance is between parents and kids. Despite what parents want, in blended families, the greatest allegiance is between parents and biological children, not blending parents or the couple. Therefore, the parent that is coming into the blended family and who will assume the role of stepparent needs to be restrained when parenting their stepchildren.

The primary parent stays in charge of discipline. The primary parent needs to enforce all discipline for his or her kids. This can be difficult for stepparents to accept once they live with the new blended family. This is also one reason to avoid blending until a solid connection is made between stepparent and stepchildren. It is natural that parents will have differences in parenting styles, and they need to communicate about this separately from their children.

blended family

Protect the children from conflict. Children in a blended family have already been in position of conflict in their families of origin. Now they are at risk for having this repeated in a blended family if parents disagree over the parenting plan, for example. As much as possible, talk about these issues away from the kids, and present a united front.

Feeling two different things at once is normal. Talk to children about how it is normal and natural to feel two emotions at once, such as loyalty to a biological father and connection to a stepfather: it is okay to have two different feelings simultaneously. They are not being disloyal or loving their original parents any less because they are developing a new connection with a stepparent.

T's Learning Centers provides convenient childcare facilities in St. Augustine and surrounding areas. With the many adjustments blended families must make, we hope this helps alleviate some of your children's stress and encourages you as parents to follow some of these suggestions to help out.