Blended Families Week: 5 Tips to Help You Transition into a Blended Family

BY: - 12 Sep '12 | Blended Families

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by  Carletta Henderson-Youngs

Change and transition are common in blended families. Every family member has to find a way to adjust to new roles, different expectations, and greater challenges. Often times it is easy to focus on adult matters, although children in blended families are equally affected. To make transitions easier and to strengthen the family bond, consider the following strategies for strong, healthy blended families.

  1. Be careful to confront the issues and concerns of everyone in the family. Allow children to ask questions about all the changes happening in their life and their family. Use this as an opportunity to discuss a better approach to managing problems without placing blame. Do not minimize anyone’s feelings. Instead, introduce coping strategies that promote forgiveness, healing and restoration.
  2. Remember you must take time to build and nurture love and trust in all relationships. Because some families expect love among family members to occur naturally when the blended family first forms, they feel disappointed when transition proves challenging. Allow every family member to have time to develop friendships. After you spend time together showing a regard and respect for one another, love and trust will develop as well.
  3. Learn the communication styles and love languages of all family members. Communication is how the family will share their thoughts, desires and feelings. Blended family success cannot occur without good communication. Effective communication allows you to care for and sustain the physical and emotional needs of one other, including all the children involved.
  4. Create new routines, traditions and expectations with consideration to every family member. Often times in forming a blended family, individual roles and routines cannot remain the same. To help make transition easier, promote full family involvement to develop new routines and new combined family traditions.
  5. Be flexible, creative and positive. Couples who demonstrate these traits are commonly stronger and healthier overall. Additionally, when these characteristics are present in marriages, couples manage conflict better which minimizes the overall impact the conflict could have on the family unit.

Managing transition is necessary when forming a blended family. Transition does not have to be a negative experience. The most important consideration to remember is that transition is relative to every family member, not just the couple.

BMWK: Please share with us your experiences from transitioning into a blended family.  Did it take longer than you expected? Can you provide any additional helpful tips?

Carletta Henderson-Youngs is the author of Our Blended Family, God Revealed Lessons for Marital Success. She and her husband James share their personal experience as a blended family to strengthen couples and stepfamilies through marriage enrichment, premarital counseling, couples therapy, marriage mentoring and education.  Follow her on twitter – @cyoungs

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BMWK Staff wrote 1181 articles on this blog.

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5 WordPress comments on “Blended Families Week: 5 Tips to Help You Transition into a Blended Family

  1. Pingback: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Prior to Blending My Family | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  2. Tawana

    I’m newly married and this blended family thing, couldn’t be the worst thing that has evr happened. Prior to marrying my husband I had never dated a man wth kids, and I can say that probably was for the best. What happens when you enter into a marriage, and the person already has kids that do not accept you as their step mother. This is the problem I’m faced with, I agree that it takes time and patience for kids to open up to a stranger, but to never open and change is a problem. I came into the marriage with a open heart and open mind, not forcing my step kids to accept me, my husband was gun ho for his kids to like and accept me as mom, it didn’t happen. Now what do I do. Now since time has passed andmy husband has zero discipline for his children, its more than a notion being around them. I want so badly for this change, or I’m not sure we can make it as a couple. It saddens me to have think abou this, because my husband and I are total true soulmates, and I could not ask for a better spouse. The children are killing us, although m y husband is determined, he says not to let that happen. Without him standing his ground, out marriage is sure to fail. Help please with this situation.

    1. Anonymous

      Hi Tawana,

      YEP! Blending a family can actually be very difficult in some situations but challenging in all. I noticed that you said that you and your husband are “true soulmates”, then why give up on the fight. Children are in our home temporarily but your husband is your family unit that will be there when they are gone. Have you sought counseling? This is imperative because we need an “outside person” who is a professional to help us. Continue to talk to your husband about your issues without anger and don’t give up! It will get better.

  3. Pingback: 7 Steps to a Well Blended Family | BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

  4. Pingback: 7 Steps to a Well Blended Family « cj

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known Prior to Blending My Family

BY: - 12 Sep '12 | Blended Families

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In today’s age, there are a lot of divorcees finding love again and people are choosing to place their desires for a successful career before marriage. Naturally, the prevalence of blended families is becoming increasingly popular.

If you are considering blending your family, ask yourself if you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that everyone in the family is prepared? After all, this is the coming together of already established families. Please try to remember that even though you have found love and are now head over heels, your child may not feel the same. No one can tell you what to expect during major changes in your life. Everyone’s experiences are different.

I feel it’s imperative to consider some key points to help safeguard your newly blended family. Here are a few things to ponder:

  1. In addition to pre-marital counseling, you may want to consider some pre-family counseling. It doesn’t have to be stark and intense. Some ice-breakers and some get-to-know-you exercises would help, too. Allow all family members the opportunity to speak and to listen to professional advisors and each other as you talk about the expectations of one another. As with anything in life, unmet expectations lead to anxiety and frustration; which can lead to trouble in an already vulnerable family.
  2. Spend as much time as you can together, allowing the children and future step-parent a sneak preview of each other. Then, make sure that your child spends time with the step-parent WITHOUT you. It’s just as important to observe how the child and step-parent interact when you’re around, as it is equally important for them to also establish a bond without your presence. When there are children from both sides involved, let them bond on their own. Do not force this, just let it happen naturally.
  3. Do not try to force child and step-parent into any type of situation, especially if you are trying to create some type of manufactured bond between the two. The facade of a perfect family union is most desirable.  But truth be told, it’s just unnatural. It is already an awkward situation to begin a new life with a person that was not a part of your “plan.” Then, to try to force the child to perhaps call the step-parent Mom or Dad is overkill. Even if your child insists on doing so, please talk about what labels and names you’re all comfortable with.
  4. Please never speak ill of the child’s biological parent or allow your new spouse to do so,  especially in front of the kids. This is a BIG no-no, for obvious reasons!
  5. Set boundaries regarding how, and IF you will even allow the step-parent to discipline the child. Knowing and establishing this from day one will be extremely helpful. Once you have established this, make sure that the child knows what the step-parent’s role is in parenting.

Blended family in the truest sense of the word, is one of the hardest things you will ever do. But, when you have found your mate and included God into the fold, the union of your newly structured family can be a blessing. It just has to be nurtured and handled with transparency, genuine love, lots of patience and unlimited understanding.I wish I had known these things ahead of time, but hey, you live and you learn, right? I hope this helps you in some way.

BMWK, do you have any advice for anyone blending their families?

Please click the link to see more articles and tips from Blended Families Week.

 

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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