Tag Archive | "stepfamily"

Common Issues of A Blended Family


When two parents of previous marriages decide to marry, it can bring a lot of emotional baggage to the children. Use these tips as your guide to help you rise above the most common issues of a blended family.

Problem # 1: Hurt and Angry Feelings

Toddlers in blended families can become defiant. Having a new parent can cause a toddler to feel doubtful about life which may lead to lack of cooperation. Oftentimes, a stepparent will be held liable for the divorce of a biological parent. The toddler can also feel confused between staying loyal to the biological parent and liking the stepparent.

The Solution: Be empathetic. Allot time for adjustment and accept whatever hurt feelings the toddler may have. But, do make sure the toddler still shows a certain level of respect for the parent and stepparent. Avoid dictating how the toddler should feel. Tell him that you understand that this situation must be hard for him.

Problem # 2: Difference In Parenting Styles

One of the biggest problems of blended families is parenting. You and your partner may have your own parenting style and once you make changes, that is when conflicts arise. Your toddler may think his new stepparent is controlling you which can make him resentful towards your new spouse.

The Solution: Come up with a list of values the two of you want to instil such as honesty and respect. Then, discuss your perspectives on parenting. For instance, you may think withholding privileges is the best way to discipline your toddler while you partner is in favor of using time-outs. Next, tackle household rules such as your toddler’s bedtime. Once you are both clear on each other’s beliefs, you can discuss parenting strategies you can apply that will be valuable for your family and that respects everyone’s opinion. After that, hold a family meeting and talk about your agreed rules and discipline methods. Your toddler is more likely to follow you and your new spouse when you present a united front.

Problem # 3: The Need To Compete

Divorce can make children question their parents love for them. Toddlers often believe that they have to compete for their parent’s attention and affection if there is a new parent and child in the picture.

The Solution: Toddlers need reminders. It is important to spend quality time with your toddler, minus the stepparent. Hug and kiss your toddler. Say “I love you” often. Treat every family member equally. Allow the children to bond.

Problem # 4: The “Ex”

An ex who meddles with the formation of a new family can make the situation more complicated. An ex can rant about you or your new spouse in front of your toddler. Or, your stepchild’s biological mother may take your stepchild out to an amusement park and leave your toddler behind.

The Solution: This one is out of your control. But, what you can do is try to be the best parent you can be. Do not thrash talk your ex in front of your toddler. If your stepchild is out with his mother, spend time with your toddler to avoid feelings of rejection.

Problem # 5: Creating A Family

A blended family does not function like traditional families. Having a new parent is already difficult, but having a new sibling just makes things more complicated.

The Solution: Connect with one another. Read books together during bedtime. Organize weekend trips with your new family. Create a “return ritual” when doing a house switch such as stopping for ice cream on the way home. This gives everyone grace period before jumping into a different routine.

Growing together as a stepfamily is not always easy. But with time, patience and effort, you can form a secure and happy family.

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