Four Potential Problems On Your Journey to Becoming A Blended Family And How to Avoid Them!
It has been found that 40% of new marriages are actually between a single person and a previously married person, and 20% are between two previously married people. Of course, those who know what marriage is all about normally come with children from their previous marriages. Also, there are many children being born to single, unmarried parents, and when these parents decided to marry, the children form part of the package. Children are then thrust into the workings of a step-family which isn’t always a smooth transition.
Bringing two families together is a big struggle, and helping a child to accept a new parent at whatever stage in their childhood is another. Many challenges come with this and they come with a lot of patience and time. Being proactive in addressing the problems that may arise from such a situation is a good measure to take to ensure that the transition into a happy blended family can be smoother and faster. Here are four problems you can expect to see when blending a family.
The Sibling War
It is no secret that biological siblings have plenty of sibling rivalry of their own already, and that’s between children who have been together all of their lives. Now, trying to make a blended family with two parents means there will be discomfort among the children. It will be awkward for them to treat each other as brother and sister since they’re basically strangers. This has problems like children fighting over a parent because suddenly the child has to share their mom or their dad with another child. If one partner in a marriage is a parent, the child or children of that parent suddenly has to share their mom or dad with another person – the spouse. This can be solved by open communication and laying everything on the table. Make sure that it is clear to everyone involved that there is to be no pointing fingers and shifting the blame. Make punishments and treats the same for all children involved and give the children a chance to get to know each other.
Share the Attention
When children from different families are brought together, their place in the family changes – for example, a child who was previously the eldest may find they are somewhere in the middle, or a child who was the youngest may find there are children younger than them in the new family. This can cause the issue of the baby, or pet, now feeling that he or she doesn’t get the same attention that they used to. There could be resentment towards the new youngest member in the family, especially if they are given the label of being the ‘baby’ or the ‘youngest’. In the same breath, the eldest who held the ‘control’ may feel they have lost their title to the older child and this causes a similar problem. Avoid these issues by speaking to all the children and explaining to them that they are all the same and that there are no labels. Ensure that each child gets attention the same as the rest.
Discipline As A Step-Parent
Here you can find that when you become a step-parent, the roles change from when you were the other children’s parents’ girlfriend or boyfriend. When you are the girlfriend or the boyfriend, you will generally play the role of the fun person to win the kids over in the relationship and to help things go the way you envision it going. However, once you are married and you are the stepparent, rules need to be made and punishments have to be served for when the rules are broken. Being a figure of authority after being the joker can be difficult. Avoid this issue by explaining the situation with the children and helping them understand the reasons for you having to change your roles. Explain that you are now a parent and that you have to behave like one, which includes the punishments that go with it.
Feeling Like Two Separate Families
You will certainly deeply desire the feeling of being a family unit once you marry your partner, but the reality is that bringing together family unity in a blended family does not happen quickly. Forcing bonds to form between kids and yourself or the other children can harm the delicate process and hinder your efforts. Don’t sabotage your dream by doing things the wrong way. Instead, work on gently helping bonds to form and making it very subtle. Do this by introducing new family traditions, for example, and spend a day a week or a day a month on doing a memorable family activity together – something enjoyable for everyone in the family. In this way, memories are formed and a shared history takes root.
It is a process that takes time and should not be rushed. Do smaller things together in the meanwhile to share time together, like sharing dinner time together or have a half-hour time slot for daily news or sharing. Get creative and watch it all come together!
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