Blended families are becoming more common, and they play a valuable role in society. However, it can take time for step-parents and children to get used to each other and learn how to get along smoothly. Here are a few tips that might help.
Family adjustments take time. At first, it may seem like things aren’t falling into place as they should. But it helps to keep in mind that everyone in the family is learning to adjust their expectations and roles within the new household structure. Mistakes will be made, and new rules can be applied. But success may not come overnight. Give everyone time to work into new relationships.
Some blended family members are fearful of losing their identity or relationships with biological relatives. It is important to realize that everyone brings different concerns, strengths, and weaknesses to the family dynamics. Each member of the family should be willing to show respect for one another, even when they don’t always agree or when things are handled differently than expected. Be a good listener and a calm family member as differences are worked through to find common ground.
Learning new routines and establishing new traditions may require some help for family members coming from different backgrounds. Check out blended family resources like books, videos. You can also find online material, like stepdad quotes from experienced fathers who have wisdom to share.
If things get heated, it may be helpful to meet with a family therapist to address complex issues. Getting help at the beginning of the situation helps to get family life organized more quickly.
Sometimes we have dreams and goals for our families that never quite materialize. That’s okay. Everyone is different in various ways, and it is important to learn which differences to accept as opposed to trying to change someone. Determining family values and guidelines from the start will keep everyone more or less on the same page while allowing for some individual preferences and styles.
Recreation and humor are two types of glue that bind families together. Whether original families or blended, everyone should make time for fun activities that can be enjoyed together. Having a good laugh now and then reduces tension and provides a shared, lighthearted experience.
Building bonds within a blended family is not difficult. Everyone should be flexible, thoughtful, and kind in learning to adjust to each other and the new family structure. Before long, home will be everyone’s favorite place to be.