Tips for Blended FamiliesJanuary 5, 2018 by Lyons and Assoc
Today’s modern family is made up of a variety of conventional and blended family structures created by adoption, remarriage, and same sex parents. Whatever type of blended family you are living in, there are several ways you can ensure peace and harmony in your home. Blended families can struggle at times, but with perseverance and compromise, you can create a loving and calm home.
Families that can maintain their sense of humor and engage in playful activities can reduce the tension and stress that can surface as parents, children, and siblings create new bonds. Sharing funny stories from each family’s past will help children get to know their step-parent and step-siblings better. Board games, favorite movies, and friendly competitions such as a game of hide and seek or tag can promote a team spirit. Laughing at yourself will help others be less critical and more accepting.
Children may need an adjustment period in their new environment, especially in the beginning. Finding time to bond individually with each member of the new family is vital to forming relationships. Helping a child with homework, fixing dinner or cleaning up the dishes together, and creating bedtime routines can help build special bonds. Teenagers also need to form these relationships, but may be more resistant. Driving them to a friend’s house or picking them up from a social activity will give you one-on-one time that can have a positive impact.
Listen and Share
Listening to each family member’s concerns or feelings is an important part of building trust. When each member of the new family feels their ideas and emotions are being heard, they will be more willing to listen to the needs of others and compromise when necessary.
Sharing family traditions from each side of a blended family also helps to unite all members. Birthday celebrations, holiday traditions, religious events, and even sharing hobbies can promote unity. Inviting relatives from both sides of the family to celebrations helps extended members invest in the blending of the new family unit. Taking an interest in unfamiliar routines or traditions shows that each member is a valued and vital part of the new family.
Adults need to show respect for each other by supporting decisions that are made within each family. Parents that share custody of their children need to be wiling to compromise on schedules so that children are present at major celebrations or family events. Disagreements between adults should be kept as just that. Children should never be drawn into adult arguments or asked to take sides between parents. Respect for step-parents will enable the children to feel that they are loved and valued in both families, and will enable them to transition back and forth between parental households with the least amount of stress.
Parents also need to remember to take time to focus on building and nurturing their relationship with their new spouse or partner. Couples that take time for each other and have other adults that they can rely on to share their experiences will be better able to nurture their children and families.
Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Blended Families Transition Successfully
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce or is creating a blended family, the experienced and compassionate Somerville divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help. Call us at 908-575-9777, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our New Jersey offices serve clients in Somerset County, Morris County, and Union County.