According to the stats, 40% of new marriages include one person who was married before. Around 20% of weddings include two people who have both been married before. This means that blended families are becoming more and more of a trend. But the sad reality is that there are a lot of blended family problems you’ll have to face as a new couple.
Contrary to what the Brady Bunch portrayed to the world, blending a family isn’t as easy as it seems. The kids have to adjust to a world of “steps”. Stepmothers, stepsiblings, step-grandparents. The truth is that putting two families under one roof can be a hell of a challenge. And according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, it can take up to two years for blended families to…well blend together.
Biggest blended family problems and tips for dealing with them
In normal families, it’s hard enough for kids to compete for attention with siblings around. The problem obviously intensifies when stepsiblings are involved. If your kid never needed to share a parent, it can be quite a huge deal to adjust to the changes in the family dynamic.
There’s no hard or fast rule for fixing this problem. You’ll have to talk to your partner to ensure you’re both on the same page about the issue. You cannot solve the problem if you both have different styles of discipline. It also can’t be solved if one parent thinks the other’s biological child is causing the chaos to begin with.
One of the best ways of dealing with the problem is by enforcing the same consequences and rewards for all kids, regardless of “how it used to be” before you got married. Remember that your kids might also feel more like strangers than actual siblings to each other. The idea of “one big happy family” will take quite a while to really work.
Don’t label your kids either. Things like “she’s the artists in our family” or “he’s the star athlete around here” will only increase tension in the household and among the kids. Ensure you highlight the fact that each family member has a lot of talents and that it is healthy to keep exploring areas of interest.
As soon as the number of kids in the home increases, one (or all) of the kids might feel like they’re not getting enough attention. Blended families might also have less financial resources to cater to all the expenses related to the extracurricular activities of all kids.
The best way to try and resolve this issue is by working together as a family unit. Make sure you set up a schedule that includes all family members. Ensure each child gets to choose one special activity. You should also try attending your kids’ activities as a parental unit, so kids don’t feel like one is getting more attention than the other. Be sure to give each child his or her fair share of individual attention as well. It can be something as simple as a game for 10 minutes a day. This will help give all the kids the attention they need, which will only help strengthen your family bond.