Developing a happy home life for families isn’t always easy, but blending two different families has its own particular challenges. Blending a family can take a while, but it is important to find a groove that is comfortable for everyone.
While every family has its own dynamic, some universal tips can help blended families become better blended. Here are some helpful tips to help maintain sanity and nurture relationships.
Don’t forget to Communicate
Communication is the foundation for healthy relationships especially when it relates to blending families. It is the cornerstone to resolving conflict, developing understanding, and creating a comfortable space for children and adults. In the beginning, stepfamilies may have difficulty communicating – family members come from different original families, have unique communication styles and different ways of solving problems. But with time, patience, and practice, developing your own family’s blended communications styles is possible.
It’s fair to say that blending families is not easy. But, the happiest and least stressed stepfamilies seem to be able to stay flexible and compromise when necessary. Compromise may include juggling schedules, understanding individual communication styles and even putting other family members first at times.
Patience is something every blended family needs. Establishing a relationship with stepchildren doesn’t happen immediately. Remember that everyone in the family is different and view relationships differently. If you are in a blended family with multiple children, one child might be more accepting of you as a step-parent than another child. Understanding family dynamics and individual personalities can help you set realistic expectations on how family relationships may grow. Be patient, it takes time to nurture new relationships and build trust. And remember, it is important to be patient with yourself. Your relationship with your partner evolved over time and your blended family will too.
Keep your sense of humor
A sense of humor is an important ingredient to stir into the blended family pot. Humor softens the rough spots and brings families together. Just remember to never use humor to hurt or put down another family member.
Remember to Respect
Members of a blended family don’t always need to agree with each other, but it is important to respect the personal opinions of family members as well as everyone’s privacy and personal possessions. Biological parents need to set good examples and make it clear to their children that they will not tolerate disrespect to the other members of the blended family.
Honesty is an important ingredient in any blended family. Discuss the importance of honesty during family meetings. And, live by example demonstrating that honesty and a sense of trust are important values to you. Stressing the importance of honesty with your family from the very beginning will help you form a strong foundation for your blended family.
Give it time
Building a blended family takes time. It is not something that happens overnight. It is okay to experience feelings of frustration, exhaustion, and even helplessness. But remember, you’re not alone – you have your blended family, your extended family, and your friend family. These folks all care about you and lend an ear when you need to talk or be a babysitter when you and/or your partner need a break.