Adjusting to Life as a Blended Family

Introducing new siblings and a new step-parent into your life or household is a huge change for your family’s day-to-day routine. Conflicts and discomfort are sure to arise, but with patience and communication comes normalcy.

Prepare Your Family Ahead of Time

A thorough sit-down discussion with your immediate family is in order before blending two families together. Make sure each child understands what’s going on and some of the challenges that may come about. Address any questions they likely have. Discuss the importance of being patient and understanding. If new family members are moving into your home, remind your kids that it will be just as strange and uncomfortable for them at first. You’re all in this together.

Take It Slow

Integrating new people into your family shouldn’t happen too suddenly. Carefully choose when and how you blend everyone together by planning laid back activities that are spread far enough apart. Increase your time together as a blended family as time goes on.

Don’t Discipline One Another’s Kids, Yet

Speaking of taking it slow, the same goes for when new family members choose to move in. A new step-parent shouldn’t take part in disciplining your biological child for quite some time. This could create tension very quickly. Instead, establish general household rules that apply to everyone.

Talk to Your Partner About Your Needs

Open communication with your partner is equally, if not more, important than communicating changes with your kids. Make sure you and your partner talk about your expectations for your blended family. It’s also important to know and understand one another’s parenting styles, financial preferences and so on. Compromise is vital.

Blending your families likely won’t be easy at first, but by being open and understanding, it will start to feel natural sooner than later. If your child seems to have difficulty with the change, talk to your pediatric provider. He or she can refer your child to a behavioral health specialist if you find they need some extra coaching or another ear to listen.