Family dynamics play a huge role in your and your children’s lives. Adjusting to a new lifestyle after a divorce can be hard on everyone involved. When you and your ex start building new families apart, blending your existing family with new parental and sibling figures is necessary.
Create a safe space for open communication on all ends. Encourage your kids, significant other, ex, and step-children to talk openly about their feelings. But, family members must feel heard to communicate honestly and openly. Start by creating a conversation about concerns and expectations. This conversation can help build comfort for all parties. Adjusting to new family dynamics is hard, and being honest about the struggles can help move a blended family forward. These conversations can look different based on the stage the children are at. Keep in mind that younger children usually adjust better to step-parents than young adolescents, so encouragement to communicate will look different based on the children’s stages.
As a parent, remain realistic with your expectations. The process of blending families isn’t going to be perfect. You must be flexible. Relationships will evolve through time and patience. With communication comes being open to compromise. You might disagree with certain ways family members want to go about the new relationships, but discussing potential solutions can ease the hearts and minds of both you and your children.
Flexibility when blending family means being open to change, having patience, and wanting to compromise. Every family is unique, which requires unique solutions. If there are problems connecting family members, keep trying new ways to build healthy relationships that are unique to you and your family.
Creating rules and boundaries establishes respect in a blended family. Everyone wants to feel respected, but this can’t be accomplished without some boundaries. Respect the wishes of family members while encouraging them to do the same. Think about the family norms that your family practiced before the family became blended. How can you adjust these rules to meet the needs of all family members?
On top of respecting boundaries, respecting and celebrating individuality is important. Every family member wants to feel valued. You can accomplish this by respecting each family member’s interests, hobbies, and opinions. One-on-one time with each family member can help build respect for their individuality.
Remarriage opens an entirely new book for families. It may not be pretty at first, but with communication, flexibility, and respect, you can make your way toward a balanced blended family.