Stepfamilies face unique challenges, especially when there are children involved. Blending two different families together can give rise to some issues, therefore both parties must be willing to compromise to make it work. The following are some tips on how to make stepfamilies successful:
Take it Slow
When bringing two families together, it is important to give everyone time to get to know each other. There may not be an instant connection between certain members of each family, therefore, you should allow relationships to develop and bonds to form naturally over time. According to a study of 200 blended families backed by the National Institutes of Health, an adjustment period of 24 months is typical. Children may need more time to warm up to their parent’s new spouse and living arrangements; give them the space they need to feel like a family.
Establish Agreed-Upon Rules
With the blending of two families often comes a new household, new rules, and new routines. Children need stability; therefore, parents should agree on ground rules when it comes to household rules, chores, and other issues. Parents also benefit from communicating with each other regarding finances, living arrangements, and roles when it comes to disciplining the children.
Be Respectful to the Other Parent
To make a stepfamily successful, parents should be respectful of the child’s other biological parent. Criticizing or otherwise speaking ill of them in front of the child can cause the child to experience feelings of confusion or resentment and can eventually alienate them from that parent. Secure parent-child relationships are healthy and necessary for children’s well-being. Stepparents should avoid harming the parental bond between a child and their biological parent.
Make Sure Everyone is Included
A stepparent may spend so much time getting to know the stepchildren that they inadvertently neglect their own child, or stepparents may be spending so much time encouraging their children to get along that their own relationship suffers. When blending two families, it is important to make sure everyone is included; plan for both one-on-one time and activities for the whole family.
Be Supportive During the Transition
Children are often deeply affected by divorce. They will need support during the transition, especially when a new parental figure is introduced. Parents and stepparents can help children feel more comfortable by letting them know that it is acceptable to vent any frustrations or concerns and that they are there to listen.
Towson Family Law Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Navigate the Divorce Process
If you are creating a stepfamily, there are many issues to consider, particularly when minor children are involved. Let a Towson family law lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC assist you in making your stepfamily successful. Our knowledgeable attorneys are experienced in all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody, visitation, alimony, and child support. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150.
Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.