Blended families are complex and living in and being part of a blended family situation is a process, and you cannot expect an instant family. The process of blending families usually brings problem issues that must be faced. Blended family issues dealing with stepchildren are one of the most complicated matters in a second marriage. This article focuses on blending families problems involving children of minor age and ways to make your blended family a Success.
Blending families successfully involve more than the parents deciding to get married. It requires properly preparing children for issues that are sure to happen.
High Divorce Rate in Second Marriages
It’s hard to know how many marriages end specifically because of problems blending families. It is reasonable to assume that difficulties in merging families are responsible for the breakup of many second marriages. The second marriage divorce rate is higher than 60%. With so much riding on successfully blending families, it makes sense to plan for issues before they harm family relationships.
Counseling could prepare a family to deal with future problems. It may be helpful for both spouses and children to take part in premarital counseling. Taking the time to address blended family issues can be worth the time and effort.
What Step-Parents Must Recognize
Stepparents must understand that they are not the biological parent of the stepchild and not attempt to overpower a child with their parenting style. Instead, go slow. Be sure to show the children that you care for them and respect them. Listen to what the children have to say and offer advice when asked.
Recognize that blending families with young children may require a different approach than for older children. Communication and interaction should be based on age and maturity.
Show respect for the ex of your spouse. Never criticize or act negatively toward a stepchild’s biological parent in the presence of the child. Attempt to keep up an active relationship with the biological parent. Positive relationships with an ex-spouse reduce tension and removes the child’s fear of being forced to choose between parents or families.
If you and your spouse have custody of all the children, you should set strict guidelines that all children must follow. Do not play favorites between your biological and stepchildren. Both spouses must have a precise understanding of how children will be treated within the home. Leave the disciplining of stepchildren to your spouse, especially in the beginning of your relationship with the children.
Are Blended Families the Same as Other Families?
Understand that a blended family is not the same as a family with both biological parents in the home. Sometimes it may be difficult for parents and children to understand their roles in the home. When you are not the custodial parent, it is helpful to recognize that rules may change for children when they move between homes which can at times cause some confusion.
As you can see, it requires some thought on how to handle possible problems that are likely to occur when putting families together. Finding help to stop blended marriage problems from sinking your wedding is not difficult. You can find help online at some marital aid resources.
Ways to Make Your Blended Family a Success
Blended families which include parents, stepparents, and children not born of that union have become more familiar, but that still doesn’t make the almost-unnatural situation any easier. As a step-parent myself, I know the ups and downs of a step-parent’s life, the problems of dealing with both step-kids and biological kids, and the pressures the entire situation can put on a marriage. There will be days that go fairly well, and other days when you may wish you’d joined a convent instead, but there are ways in which to make the situation work better for everyone. Even if you only have the step-kids on the weekends, they can become a source of resentment unless you learn how to deal with the constant changes in your life.
There’s no way that your step-kids are ever going to evoke the same feelings in you that your children do, so you’re best not trying to push the issue. The step-kids are going to consider you an unnecessary person in their lives and wish that their parents were back together again. You’re going to feel greater love and protectiveness towards your kids, no matter how hard you try to treat everyone fair and equal. Fighting with yourself about your inabilities to erase any prejudice that may affect you is only going to cause more problems. Being realistic about what you can and can’t do and then handling yourself accordingly is the first step to a successful blended family.
The chances are that if you’re a woman, your husband is never going to appreciate everything you do for his children. After all, taking care of children comes naturally to women. Doesn’t it? For most of us, taking on a ready-made family is a challenge, especially if you’ve never had children of your own. With a new baby, you can learn gradually as the child grows, with an immediate family you can feel thrust into the middle of an impossible situation and that you’re being suffocated. Just keep in mind that everyone involved is only feeling their way in the beginning, and do your best to ignore remarks the children make and the looks of disparagement you’ll receive from your husband over your best-intentioned words and actions.
You aren’t your step-kids’ mother, and you can’t expect them to treat you as if you are. Allow them to call you by your given name instead of insisting that you should be called “mom.” Show them that there are different kinds of people in the world and that although you and their mother are going to do things differently, there is no right and wrong, and it’s possible to love more than one person. Never make negative remarks about their mother, no matter how you feel. If you’ve prepared yourself to give and give and to receive nothing in return, you’ll never be disappointed.