In the short period of time following a divorce, ex-spouses and their children continue to process the life-changing moment. Over months and years, the pain of the dissolution tends to ebb. Many divorced parents ready to move on start pursuing new relationships that may end up in marriage and the possibility of a blended family unit. Children may hope either or both parents move on and create a new relationship.
Overcoming the obstacles
Challenges exist when it comes to combining two family units. However, taking a practical and proactive approach can help ease the transition. First and foremost, newly re-married parents take a team-oriented approach to the new dynamic. They must be clear about roles and boundaries, particularly regarding co-parents, step-parents, and additional family members.
Flexibility and open lines of communication are strong building-block that eventually establishes a strong foundation. With children as part of the package, blending families can present significant challenges when you find a new partner. Should the new dynamic “gel,” the personal rewards are endless.
A new beginning
A new family unit is a time of significant change. Everyone in the new blended family must function as a team, from routines to set-in-stone schedules. Establish roles from the outset while clarifying that the new parent is anything but a replacement. Showing respect to the stepchildren’s bio planet can go a long way to establishing a solid relationship. Rants and trash-talking heard by the children can create more problems and make the transition more difficult.
Full disclosure in communication can take the form of periodic family meetings to see where children are with the significant change. While resistance is expected, the ultimate objective is to build trust with stepchildren. Stepparents can be as influential as biological parents. The path to harmony is long, but the rewards can be endless.