There’s no real guidebook to raising a family. Especially when it comes to blended families. The stakes are already high the first time around. But when the second time comes around there are old wounds and scars left behind from divorce. However, there are key steps you and your partner can take to ensure a healthy and happy marriage and family.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
It’s easy to become caught up in the excitement of love and family. Of course, just like the first marriage, there are going to be issues; especially when children are involved. Navigating ex-spouses, finances, and raising children can bring a whole slew of new issues. Stay realistic and understand that these issues are perfectly normal and that doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
2. Communication is Essential
Conflict is inevitable, which is why learning how to effectively communicate is so important. Poor communication can chip away at the foundation of a healthy and happy relationship. Try to practice active listening when your partner or step-children bring up a new problem. Active listening can help to promote effective communication.
3. Parent Together, Not Separately
When you merge two families, you become one. It does not become a case of “these are my children and those are your children.” Loyalty to your own child is valid and can be very strong. However, it’s so important to establish roles for parenting and discipline early on. Not only is it important to establish roles, but to maintain those roles throughout the relationship as well. This can be a very difficult time for children, so maintaining a sense of structure in the home is essential to a smooth transition.
4. Practice Patience and Understanding
Blending families isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Both you and your partner need to commit to the long journey that is ahead of you and your new family. No one is perfect and your partner and yourself are going to slip up from time to time. But, it’s essential for you to find joy and happiness, even when times are testing your patience.
5. Don’t Give Up
Things are not always going to go as planned. There can and will be difficult periods of transition for you, your partner, and the children. During these difficult times, remember why you came together in the first place. Couples who commit to overcoming struggles together build a strong foundation to get through even tougher issues in the future.
No one said marriage would be easy and a new marriage with a blended family comes with its own set of struggles and strengths. As long as you and your partner are committed to the success of your relationship and family, in the end, all will be well. However, if you are struggling with the transition period our professional counselors can offer help. Call us today to schedule an appointment so that we can help you build the strong foundation your new family deserves.