Many remarriages include children from previous relationships and blended families are more common now than ever. Blending different families together, however. comes with unique challenges.
Combining different personalities, households and often, cultures, the awkward weekend visitations and dealing with the exes can fuel the fire of confusion that children and adults feel in trying to make sense of the divorce and new family. The stress can take its toll, but the rewards can be miraculous.
According to The US Bureau of Census , 1300 new step families are formed every day. The process, however, of successfully blending families together can be rewarding and challenging. Children resist the change, while parents often become frustrated, exhausted and anxious. Blending families requires adjustment for everyone involved.
Though the process of blending can be tough, the final result can be beautiful. Understanding and communicating are keys to smoothing out an unfamiliar and rocky situation.
Let’s explore ways of adjusting to your new family.
Whether you’re a stepparent or a stepchild, with your new family, understanding will be a must.
Judith Wallerstein is a psychologist and author of ‘Second Chances’, and ‘Unexpected Legacy of Divorce’. The twenty five year landmark study followed 93, now-adult children for about 25 years and focused on the effects from their parent’s divorce, Wallerstein reported that 41% of children of divorce are worried, deprecating, and often angry.
Change is uncomfortable for anyone and you and your child are no exception. Understand, however, that as an adult, you chose this change, but this young person did not. They did not sign up for any of this. It’s possible that they feel tossed in a situation that they had very little, to no say in. This situation can be frustrating for both adults and children.
The distance or standoffish behavior from the child shouldn’t be taken personally. Children may feel as though they’re being disloyal to the other parent if they admit to liking the step parent. Communicate with your child that you both share the same feelings of uncertainty and confusion, but that you’re willing to make it work. As the adult, make it clear that you aren’t in this new role, as an attempt to take the place of the children’s biological parent.
Let’s explore our next step:Communication.
Communication is a key factor in any family and relationship and much more so in a blended family. Children need to openly communicate with their biological parents, and vice versa. It may not be comfortable in the beginning, but with effort, comfort and ease with conversation will come naturally. Both parties should feel comfortable communicating, overtime.
Do not push comfort , closeness and friendship in the early stages. Parents, oftentimes, the children will not confide in you in the beginning.
Learn to give the possibility of an organic beautiful relationship, time.
Though the role of a step parent and step child can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding. Remember this: creating and adjusting to your family is less of a project and more a beautiful process..
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