In a “Blended” Family? How to Make It Work Despite the Obstacles

High divorce rates and remarriage in American has created many “blended families.” Blended families refer to those in a household composed of parents and children who are not related by blood. The results of blending families creates stepparents and stepchildren. If you have ever been part of a blended family, you know the unique stress it can create. Since so many households are not the “typical” anymore, we need to redefine the family and begin educating ourselves as to how to rear healthy children in whatever family constellation they live. It’s not the family that’s important, but family life that exerts the most important influence on the development of your children.

What can you do to help ensure a healthy blended family environment?

1. Teach your children that there is enough love to go around to all family members, biological or blended.

2. Show respect for the care your child has for your ex-spouse. Don’t be threatened by your child’s stepmother. Don’t make your children have to choose between you. Work together so that the significant adults in your child’s life can expand and enhance his or her learning.

3. Look at your blended family as an opportunity to develop tolerance and flexibility. Be creative about the ways that you include extended family member into your family life.

4. Teach your child to appreciate that happy family life is created by caring, committed people of all ages and connections.

5. Educate yourself by reading and attending classes on parenting. Be humble and accept the fact that you may need some help.

6. If you encounter a situation that is beyond your understanding, seek the expertise of a family therapist. Sometimes personal problems or relationship problems interfere with productive family life. It is important to recognize these problems, to seek professional help and to restore family life to a healthy, happy balance.

By taking the responsibility seriously, you can have a successful blended family. For more information, visit Parenting Effectively – Happy Blended Families. If you would like assistance from a family therapist, contact my office to set up an appointment.

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