A blended family is when two people who have children from previous marriages come together after a divorce to create a new family unit. Nowadays, blended families are relatively common. The blended family is also commonly referred to as a step-family.
A positive and supportive blended family is possible, but it takes work. When considering the factors that negatively affect a blended family, the most prominent and present culprit is uncertainty. Children might feel uncertain about what is happening and about the future, especially right after their parents divorce. This feeling of uncertainty causes stress, anxiety, and fear. Remember, in most situations, children come from stable homes. These homes and situations are all they have ever known. Then, their parents become divorced and the instability begins. Eventually, another partner and their children are brought into the mix, causing more stress.
This lack of stability can cause a lot of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety in children, especially when they are younger. Younger children generally do not have the same coping mechanisms of teenagers and adults. That is why parents who are beginning a blended family have to spend a lot of extra time and energy on helping their children transition.
Fortunately, there are many steps that parents can take to make the transition easier for the children. Some important tips for blending a family include the following.
Decide if Remarrying Is the Right Choice
Make sure your new spouse is the right choice when you are considering remarrying. You want to make sure that remarrying is also the right choice for your family. According to Census data, over 60 percent of second marriage end in divorce. This is higher than first marriages. It is important to consider whether this is the right step for you and your children.
Always Be Respectful
All blended family members should be respectful of each other and treat everyone in a civil manner. When children are living in a new home with new people, it can be awkward and they may not like it right away. At the very least, they can be respectful to each other. They do not even have to like each other at first, but they should at least be civil and not hostile.
Set Boundaries and Respect Boundaries
If possible, make sure your children have their own boundaries, and teach everyone in the household to respect those boundaries. For example, most teenagers want their own bedroom. If possible, older children and teenagers should have their own space where they can go to decompress and feel safe.
Take it Slow
It is wise to allow children to adjust slowly. Too much change too quickly is usually not good for anyone, especially children. Incremental changes are best. This tip is especially important if your children are teenagers. Even though they are more mature, teenagers may have more challenges with integrating with other teenagers in the household. Because of this, it is wise to slowly integrate everyone to the new household.
With smaller children, they may be more open to living with other children. They may see their step-brothers or step-sisters as new playmates.
Do Not Be Trapped by Ultimatums
Do not allow your children or your spouse to give you an ultimatum involving choosing your children or your new spouse. This is a no-win situation. It is possible to have a blended family.
As a parent, refuse to engage in this trap if you are presented with such an ultimatum. Good communication with everyone will help avoid these ultimatums.
Ensure That Respect Is Given
Make sure that everyone in the blended family is respectful to each other. Whether it is your children, step-children, new spouse, ex-spouse, or all of them, everyone needs to be respectful.
Keep in mind that being respectful does not mean that you have to agree with everyone’s opinion. A person can vehemently disagree with someone’s opinion, but still be respectful to them. Having open lines of communication is absolutely necessary in blended family situations.
When discussing important family-related issues, communication has to be calm, quiet, and respectful. It is when people start to raise their voices that they cannot understand each other and hear the other person’s position.
Bel Air Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Blended Families With Post-Divorce Related Issues
Even newly divorced individuals can experience legal problems. If you need to make changes, contact one of our Bel Air divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We may be able to help you make post-divorce modifications. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, and we proudly serve clients across 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.