The family structure can be such a tricky thing. This is even more true when that structure is changed in any way. When two families come together to create newly blended families, there can be many challenges. In a lot of cases with children, this can be something that can create a lot of tension or bitterness.
There are often times when the child feels like they owe the parent outside of this equation some allegiance and have trouble bonding with the step-parent. Sometimes it can be hard for parents to bond with their stepchildren or learn to parent them if the others parenting strategies are different. As therapists at Katy Counseling, we understand the challenges blended families can present.
here are a few tips to help nurture this new familial bond.
Take it slow
It is important to consider all things when it comes to parenting in a blended household. While the two families could have been doing great before the new relationship, the mention of creating a new familial unit can bring even the strongest of families to a tough place. The children are learning to share their parents in a way they never have before. The best thing is to acknowledge that you are building a new relationship and it’s okay if the growth takes a little while.
Continue to grow with and focus on your partner.
These times can be very trying for a couple, it is so important to make sure you are still making time to focus on each other and connect. Set aside time in the morning to talk about what each partner needs to be encouraged on this journey, and take time in the evening to debrief and discuss the day. Don’t forget to date one another so that you can remember why it is that you chose to grow your family.
Set realistic expectations
It is very important to set expectations for the family from the beginning of this transition. Take into consideration all of the changes that come for each individual in the situation. Think about each person and how they might react in situations like this and set small steps in place to make this a smooth transition. This would also include checking in on each individual to see where they are at and asking what encouragement they may need.
From the very start, it is important to have a sit-down conversation to discuss what parenting has looked like for each partner before this transition. Have tougher conversations about each partner’s standards and rules and come to some conclusion on how difficulties will be treated. Give each partner room for grace, but make sure to come together in an honest way as a united front. While you may have made the decisions for your family before this relationship, you chose to bring on a partner to parent with so you have to make sure that ALL decisions are made together.
When blending families it is important to remember that children are likely going to feel loss or grief in these situations. While they are gaining a new family, they are also grieving the loss of what was. They might even feel like they are disrespecting the parent not involved if they are happy about it. It is important to practice understanding and put yourself in their shoes. Let them know that you don’t have to take their other parent’s place, but that you are an addition to their family to help them grow and to be their support.
There is No One Size Fits All Approach
There is no cookie-cutter plan that will make blending your family easy. These tips are just stepping stones meant to guide you in making this transition a little smoother. No matter what it might feel like now, being prepared and seeking answers now is a great step towards building the blended family that you set out to build.
Do You need Women’s counseling for blended families in Katy, TX?
Therapy with a therapist specializing in women’s issues can help you learn skills and tools to reduce the stress that comes with newly blended families. You are not in this alone. If you need strategies to successfully blend your family, Katy Counseling is here to help. Follow the steps below to start your journey to family healing.
- Learn more about our team here.
- Fill out our convenient online contact form for more information.
- Begin the journey to making your family whole.
Other Mental Health Services Offered at Katy Counseling
In addition to offering services for blended families and Women’s Issues, we also offer a wide range of services for adults, teens, and children. These services include Play Therapy, Teen Counseling, Adult Counseling, Couples Counseling, Trauma Counseling, and Lens Neurofeedback. Our goal is to meet you where you are and help guide you through the issues you are facing in a positive and supportive way.