The elevated rates of divorce in the US means that blended family or namely step-families, are becoming a much more common occurrence in households all over the country. The Good Therapy estimates that nearly 66% of second marriages involve children from a previous relationship.
A transition into a blended family cohabitation can be a difficult time, especially if there are small children in the picture. However, there are several measures that parents can take in order to make the best out of the situation for all parties involved.
Many first-time step-parents are weary to show their true colors at the beginning of the relationship. They either overplay their role as the disciplinary figure or display far too much affection in the form of gifts and compliments.
In reality, step-parents should manage their excessively high expectations and slowly emerge themselves in the lives of their step-children. The simple act of planning a casual activity or driving them to school everyday can help establish a healthy relationship with stepchildren over time.
An effective approach as espoused by WebMD states that both parents should frequently discuss together how to address issues and the roles necessary to run the household. Family meetings once a week can help air grievances and relieve tensions. Visits to biological parents should be encouraged to show that there is no competition or animosity between step-parents and biological parents.
A blended family cohabitation also comes with its occasional setbacks as to be expected. Typical phrases such as ‘You’re not my real dad/ mom’ should not be taken personally as it may simply come from the stepchild’s personal struggle of their biological parents’ divorce or separation.
These gestures should be viewed as a cry for help, which only time and patience can heal. When the step-child knows that they have someone to confide in during difficult times, it can prove vital in building meaningful rapport.
Step-siblings tend to develop a close friendship early-on due to their shared experience of divorce and separation from biological parents which can act as a close bond between them. Step-parents should do their best to welcome and encourage these interactions which can help smoothen the transition into a peaceful and harmonious living arrangement.
At the end of the day, family is family. The sole reason behind the bringing together of two or more different families under one household is love. A heartfelt declaration of appreciation and gratitude in front of the household is the surefire way to unite the family against all odds.
If you are in need of experienced legal representation to assist you in any family law matter, you may contact the offices of Cynthia J. Dienstag, Esq. at (305) 250-4680 or (954) 318-3824.