Menu Style




Blended Family - How to Smooth the Waters When Combining Families

Blended families can be a wonderfully enjoyable union between all members of both families. Combining your family with your partners can result in a happy, rewarding environment for everyone directly involved. But, how do we get to the point of calling it a success? The task of successfully combining your family with your partners can be daunting if you do not approach it correctly. Blended family relationships can be difficult to address if you and your partner attempt the transformation blindly.

If you have found yourself in a new relationship where your new partner has children, and perhaps you have children also, there are some important family issues to consider. How your children react to this new family member and/or how their children will react to you can be a daunting and yet, exciting, prospect.

Some form of hostility and a degree of turmoil can arise when the family dynamic is changed. Children often have feelings of being replaced when new partners arrive on the scene, and the acceptance of your partners children bring with it another set of issues that need to be addressed. Sometimes, children can feel left out and therefore insecure within the new relationship and occasionally this escalates to feelings of loneliness and feeling unloved. With some solid preparation and research prior to this change taking place, you can potentially prevent - or curb, some of these problems.

By relating to the new dynamics, it is very helpful to try and see it through the eyes of your child. Look at all the different aspects of this new arrangement, and take into account everything this child is feeling as a result of it. Sharing your parent with another adult can be pretty difficult on a child if they are used to having you all to themselves, all of the time. The family is also having to share their physical space with another person who brings with them their own sets of beliefs and values, and this can be unnerving for the child in the family. This can weigh heavily on a child if you are not addressing the situation specifically with them.

By preparing your children ahead of time as to the changes that are going to be made within the family, the element of surprise will be taken out of the situation. Getting your children's input on the situation is important, they need to know that they are being listened to and that they have a say in this arrangement also. If your child is staunchly against the relationship, try and get to exactly why it is that they feel this way. Sometimes counseling can be very useful in this situation. Children often react better with a neutral counselor than they do with their parents in this situation.

You may actually be pleasantly surprised if you approach this subject with them ahead of time. Spend time with everyone involved in this new family system. Let your children get to know your new partner in a casual and friendly environment. Let them enjoy an outing somewhere away from the family home before your new partner moves in, and have them get to know each other on neutral territory. This will also give your new partner a chance to get to know your children too of course. You will be able to see how they interact with your children and if there is the beginning of a bond or some initial problems starting to arise.

Having another person share the lives of you and your children happily, is very possible. The most important things to consider is how you approach the prospect of someone living full-time in your home with your children. Let their views and feelings be validated. Listen to what their concerns are and don't discount them. See if you can all work on their concerns together. Having a family counselor can be very effective in ironing out any issues, and usually once the counselor has given you the tools and strategies to use in dealing with future issues, you can usually handle your futures yourselves. No family is perfect all of the time. The ones that are the most happy, are the ones where all the members feel loved and secure and heard. This rule goes for the adults as well as the children.

By Piper S. McKenzie
Article Source: