I am the poster child for blended families. By the age of 13 both of my parents had remarried, causing me to go from being the only child to having three brothers and three sisters. My life dramatically changed, and it took awhile for me to catch up.
I’ve witnessed the good, bad and ugly of blended families. In retrospect, we were all just winging it because there isn’t a manual on how to blend your broken family. However, there are steps to take that can make everyone’s life a tad bit easier. Here are five things to start your new stepfamily off on the right track.
- Address the elephant in the room
Instead of avoiding the obvious change that has taken place in the family dynamics, address it head on. State the facts to the children. Explain the role of future stepparents, siblings, etc. Stepfathers are exactly that, not uncles. Be transparent about everything to prohibit any confusion or false expectations.
- Reinforce love
A broken family can sometimes be interpreted as broken love, especially among children. Now more than ever is the time for parents to reinforce their love to their children.
- Set goals
A broken family should still have goals, especially for the children. Who will the children live with? What’s the best school choice option? Will the family trip to Disney World still happen? How much will each parent contribute to the college fund? These goals should be thoroughly discussed to ensure they’re achieved.
- Set boundaries
My parents and stepparents are able to spend holidays together. I’m well aware that this isn’t the norm, especially in the beginning. Be sure to establish what you’re comfortable with and what may take time.
- Love the new norm
So your family isn’t quite the Huxtables. That’s okay! Embrace the fact that your child has more adults in their life to love and care for them. You have extra help and support. Blended families can be beautiful once everyone learns to embrace and love the new norm.
Are you a member of a blended family? What did your family do to make the transition easier? Sound off below!