Coping with Challenges in Blended Families
Blending a family to create your own step family brings a lot of challenges. The process in coping with challenges in blended families is rarely smooth and many children will resist these changes. Not only does blending a family bring upon resistance from the children being united into this new unit, it can create a challenge for both parents because there has to be a change in the family structure to combine two sets of children.
While coping with challenges in blended families can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to lead to disaster when you learn how to deal with them in a manner that is satisfactory to everyone. You may be approaching this blended family unit with much enthusiasm, as you have fallen deeply in love, remember that the children involved may not be as in love with the idea as the adults are.
Take into consideration what your children’s needs are; respect their emotions during this transition and open the door to communication while you work to plan this new family unit.
While you can’t remove all of the fight back from the children during this process of blending a family, you can follow these steps to coping with the challenges facing blended families:
• Use Empathy and Compassion – When a situation has arrived that leaves the children screaming, fighting back and yelling at the adults or other blended family children, learn to use a little bit of empathy and compassion when discussing the situation with the children. These children are combined from the result of your love with your new partner, they need time to trust this new family unit and to realize that they still matter as much as they did before this new adult and additional children arrived in their world.
• Be Firm, Expect Respect – As a new step parent in a blended family unit, you will start to feel frustrated because respect may not be given right away. One way to cope with this challenge in a blended family is to continue to be firm in regards to expecting respect from all children equally, whether you are accepted as a new parent figure or not, you are an elder and that title alone deserves respect.
• Get Creative with Bonding – Just like you won’t fall in love with these new children overnight, they won’t fall in love with you overnight. Take time with each of the children in this blended family, be silly with them, come up with a special nightly game you all do together as a means to earn a friendship with these children so eventually they will relax and learn to love you as their new parent.
• Practice Relaxing Techniques – If all else fails and the challenges are just too trying for you, remember to relax every night so that tomorrow rises a new day with a new mindset. After a long day of dealing with the challenges of a blended family take a nice hot bath, practice yoga or deep breathing techniques before bed, this allows you to shrug off the day’s challenges without causing extra stress to your mind and body.
When a blended family unites learning skills for coping with challenges in blended families is important. These challenges can be very demanding and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Using the options listed above every day will allow your blended family some space, time and compassion to develop slowly in a newly formed family unit. You fell in love with your partner for a reason and once you have given the blended family unit a bit of time and patience, you will soon find the stressful challenges facing your blended family will subside.
Are you part of a blended family? What are some of the challenges that you have faced? What did you do to overcome these hurdles?