Setting up a blended family? Additional tips

A significant advantage for parents is having more support, strength, and encouragement to raise their children.

A significant advantage for parents is having more support, strength, and encouragement to raise their children.

What you need to know:

  • Blended families are becoming common. It is crucial for parties to understand the dynamics of these relationships.
  • With patience and an open mind, a happy blended family can be achieved.
  • Seeking professional help before committing to the relationship is another aspect that should be considered to ensure an easier transition.

A blended family is a term given to a family that consists of a couple, children from previous relationships plus children the couple may have together.

Types of blended families

  • One parent and a stepparent: This is the most common type of blended family where one person has children from their previous marriage or relationship that they continue to raise with a new partner.
  • Divorce and remarriage: If parents divorce and remarry, they often have children from both families. The first family is considered the "first blend," whereas the second marriage will create a new family or "second blend."
  • Adopted family: If someone has children from outside the marriage, whether, through adoption or other means like surrogacy, they are considered to be part of a blended family.

The advantages of a blended family

  • A significant advantage for parents is having more support, strength, and encouragement to raise their children. In addition, there is financial support from the other partner.
  • It eases the transition of new stepparents. They do not feel like outsiders coming into a family because they also bring in a part of the family.
  • The family has a greater sense of unity which can create stronger bonds between all members. It also creates more memories.

Benefits for the kids

  • Each parent can offer different things to the child, which creates well-rounded individuals.
  • The children learn about diverse cultures and religions, creating more open-minded individuals who will become tolerant adults in society.
  • When everyone engages in parenting, it can also motivate children to behave better and follow the rules because they have extra support from multiple people.
  • It helps the kids not to miss out on the care of one of their parents, as full attention is given to them by two people who care for them equally.
  • Kids from blended families are likely to have more resilience, especially after a nasty breakup of parents. This is because they have been taught from early on that even though their parents are no longer together, they can still be friendly and raise children.
  • They also learn to treat everyone equally since biological parents and stepparents play an essential role in raising them.

The disadvantages

  • You need a lot of patience because it takes time to get used to the new dynamics, especially if there are many different opinions within the family.
  • There is also potential for rivalry between one person's former partner who may not have a good relationship with the new person.
  • It can also be hard for parents to treat the children equally if they are closer to or feel more sympathy towards their biological children since they went through a tough breakup together.
  • If the kids cannot get along with one another or believe that one is favoured over the other, sibling rivalry may occur. Likewise, if children do not feel like their parents give them enough attention or treat them equally, it might cause tension between them.
  • It can be difficult for new partners to adjust to a blended family because it may take time to get used to children from previous relationships and learning what kind of parent they want to be. This includes issues such as how to discipline kids and what kind of rules to implement.
  • It can be confusing for the kids if there are many different sets of rules in the house, or one parent does not agree with something the other says.
  • Financial problems can also arise if the parents have a significant gap in their income or if one of them is struggling to work and support the family.

Tips for a happy blended family

  1. You do not have to change the kids. Their biological parents have raised them in a certain way for a reason.
  2. Try not to take sides if you are new and do not have a full understanding of the issues. This can be difficult when there are multiple opinions on what should be done but taking sides will only cause tension.
  3. Be open about financial issues. It is easier to solve problems early on than to try to fix them later.
  4. Give equal attention to all children and do not favour one over the other.
  5. Be open to different rules in your house. You are not going to agree on everything, but everyone should be treated fairly and equally.
  6. The kids need time to adjust. Be patient and guide them through the process.