Blended Families

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Families today are more complex sometimes than just including a mom, dad, and kids. Blended families or stepfamilies are becoming more common. A blended family forms when you and your partner build a life together with children from one or both of your previous relationships.

The blending of two families can be a rewarding and challenging experience. The challenges that blended families face are unique. A blended family challenges both the parents and the children as adjustments to new relationships and living arrangements are made.

Stepparents may find it difficult to get used to parenting stepchildren. Children may also have a hard time accepting a new stepparent as an authority figure. It is important to clearly communicate expectations and make sure children understand the role of their new stepparent. The role of a stepfather can have its own unique challenges. Showing respect and giving encouragement is a great way to show affection in a non-physical way.

Blending two families takes patience, respect, and communication. These resources offer research and tips for you as you navigate the uniqueness of being a father and stepfather in a blended family.

Tips & Best Practices

  • Take the mystery out of planning to blend families together by open discussions about the changes that will be happening. Going over common myths about blended families and what to expect as a family can help ease any tension or anxiety you or your family may be feeling. 
  • A remarriage that includes children from a previous relationship requires some adjustments. These Blended Family and Step-Parenting Tips can help you bond with your stepchildren and deal with common blended family issues.
  • Take time to be actively involved in your stepchildren’s lives. Research indicates that although stepfathers are generally less involved with children than are biological fathers, they have positive impacts on child well-being.
Spotlight On
Expressing Love in Blended Families

One of the most challenging things in life may be trying to successfully blend together two separate families with different expectations, experiences, and backgrounds. And being a stepparent may be the hardest thing anyone attempts in their life (possibly the most unappreciated anyway). Here are five tips from experienced parents on how to express love within a blended family.

FAQS

What can we do to be successful?

Successful blended families can be difficult to achieve, but it is important to put in the work to build a healthy and blended family. Patterns of success for blended families that can help family members make a smooth transition into their new normal include building intentional relationships and starting new family rituals and traditions.

How can I bond with my stepchildren?

Don’t worry if you and your stepchildren don’t bond overnight. Building new relationships takes time. Here are 8 tips to help you bond with your stepchildren. 

Should I discipline my stepchildren?

According to this Michigan State Extension Office article, it is more beneficial to the family dynamic to have biological parents discipline their own children. Stepparents should focus on connecting with their stepchild more than correcting so that trust can be built. 

Will a blended or step-family impact my relationship with my partner?

Building a blended family can put strain on you and your partner. Promising practices have suggested that clear communication of roles and patience can keep your relationship steady.

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