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9 Strategies for Happy, Blended Families


stepfamily or blended family is a family where one parent has children that are not related to the other parent.

If you live in a blended household, you almost certainly recognize the dedication and stamina needed for a happy home. Although many families struggle through years of challenging communication, you can use specific strategies to help yours relate and function more peacefully. 

You may already have learned some techniques that suit your family's needs. To supplement these, review these 9 strategies to help your blended family be healthy, happy and strong.

1. Agree on a plan. In advance of "blending" the families, parents can talk about how they will manage the kids and their lives together. Before you marry or move in, make it a point to discuss openly how you want the management of the kids to be split or shared.

2. Decide not to discipline the other's children. Although this may sound like a drastic measure, it's wise - at least in the short-term - to avoid potentially uncomfortable occurrences between step-parents and children.

* Instead, each incident will be discussed and the biological parent will determine and administer the consequence. This will help to reduce development of negative feelings by a child toward the step-parent. 

* This agreement may be altered in the future, depending on the progression of family relationships.

3. Vow together to treat the children equally. Make a concerted effort to show your step-children the same consideration, compassion, concern, and love as you show to your own children.

4. Affirm that you won't criticize the children or each other. Such interactions tend to wear away at the primary relationship and discourage open communication between partners, not to mention arousing negative feelings in the children.

5. Establish healthy relationships first. Before blending the families, recognize the importance of allowing the children the time and space to develop comfortable, healthy relationships.

* If the kids really know the other parent well and have a well-established, easy relationship with them, household life will go more smoothly once the family "blends."

6. Hold weekly family meetings. For these, everyone in the family is required to attend. Each person takes turns sharing what they enjoyed about the last week and anything that occurred that troubled them. 

* Avoid turning family meetings into "gripe" sessions. 

* With your partner, set the tone in the meetings. Encourage your kids to appropriately comment. Especially with younger kids, make suggestions to help guide the meetings' discussions.

7. Provide options for the children. Allow all the children opportunities to choose what they want to do. 

* One method is to let kids take turns selecting what the weekly family activities will be. 

* If you like, provide parameters for the choices. For example, the kids might choose from going to get ice cream, playing miniature golf or seeing a movie. 

8. Show interest in all the kids. Take notice of not only your own kids' activities, but also your step-children's interests and hobbies. On the other end of the spectrum, remember not to leave your own kids out in your efforts to include the step-kids. 

* If your work schedule allows, attend some of your stepchild's sports or extracurricular school activities. This will help demonstrate that you notice and care about them.

9. Have positive exchanges with all the kids. Provide warm feedback each day for each child in the family. Say the child's name, make eye contact, and use a friendly voice tone. Remember that you're building relationships based on respect.

Blending a family can be an interesting, challenging, and ultimately very rewarding journey. Apply these strategies to ensure that your household is functioning positively for a healthy and happy family.

Comments

Tarana Khan said…
It definitely takes a lot of hard work to keep a blended family happy. Some good tips here!
Kero Pinkihan said…
Wonderful tips you shared here and worth sharing! I hope parents in blended families will take note.
Anonymous said…
yea thats seems like a hard task to handle, great read though
Chani Jameson said…
Good advice. We do have a blended family and do some of these tips. Thanks so much for sharing!
Raine Pal said…
Good tips here sis. This will be a guide to all, blended or not we should be for each other and no matter what happened we are one as "FAMILY".
Franc said…
I guess it's more common now and I'm sure a lot of the other parent can be more adoptive as long as they have a concern and love for the other.
Really a hard way to build this kind of family, but your article gives points on how to treat them fairly. Thanks for sharing.
Algene May C. said…
Super agree ako sa number 7. I'm really happy that my mom and dad know how to let me choose to grab or not the opportunities that come my way :)
All those tips can be achievable through clear communication in the family. Everyone should cooperate and be understanding about the situation.
Earl Pablo said…
I think #2 is tempting because when you a child doing things not conforming to your standards, we tend to teach or discipline. A talk must be made immediately when this issue comes out.
leira said…
true that its not easy to do a blended family not for everyone.Its not easy to marry someone na may package deal but you can make it work communication and a lot of prayers is the key talaga
petroleumjelly said…
i am very pleased to have read this post. im a single mom and have a "special" someone right now and i just kept on thinking how a future family with him may really look like. he is very open though and loves the idea of taking care of my child as well, but this one is really helpful since it finally makes me think about how to actually "manage it" the details and all. thank you for this:)
Anonymous said…
These strategies are truly helpful! A harmonious relationship is really a must in every family. ♥♥♥
Masshole Mommy said…
I have a blended family myself and I love all of your tips. I think you are spot on.
Cyndie said…
I am part of a blended family and grew up in a blended family. These are very good tips and I wish I had them as a child.
Kung Phoo said…
I think you have to be united in all your stands.. whether they are your kids or someone elses kids that are now with you.
Candace Celmer said…
I think this is an amazing list. Even just making this list in each family, how it would exactl apply to them and their blended family would be so helpful. Communication is key.
These strategies seem to be well thought out. I do not have a blended family but can see where these tips can be helpful.
Jo said…
You make it look like it's not hard at all with your tips! That's great! I think a lot of people could relate to this, even the single parents and the non-blended ones. :)
Franc said…
I think it's really important that everybody gets treated equally. This would let everybody feel that they belong.
Nolie said…
IT is a lot of work to blend families. Not sure I agree with some of these but I supposed it is cause these are geared towards those with older children.
When can the disciplining happen then? I mean, when the children turn what age? I think parents should tell them at least what not to do.
Ben Butler said…
Great post. Blended families are tough. There's this whole dynamic where one of you is in a parental role, at yet, technically you aren't the parent (biologically speaking) this can be a real problem when it comes to punishments or if the biological parent is trying to drive a wedge between you and the children.
You have some pretty amazing suggestions. I love giving kids options. This helps a lot. Make happy memories that should be a big priority too.
Heather Jones said…
Blended families definitely can have more strains and challenges than others especially since most children are then apart of two families with different rules in each household, etc. I'm certain its very hard at times.
Karly Gomez said…
Great tips! I have a lot of friends who grew up in blended families; some were happy and successful, others not so much. But they all thankfully are happy adults now.
Marie Moody said…
Yes it does. Whether it's a blended family and even relatives I think. Even when they're not related, but yet through marriage they are your niece or nephew etc. the children just doesn't understand sometimes and patience is a virtue as they say! :)
Becka M said…
This is some great advice! We had a situation come up where my husband's sister found out she had breast cancer, she is in remission now so things worked out best. But when we talked worst case scenarios in the beginning and her kids coming to live with us, we decided then and there if the worse did happened that all the kids would be ours and treated the same. That is the kicker I see most often in the blended families I know, kids not feeling accepted by the new parent as much as they accept their own kid.
Bonnie Gowen said…
I certainly know about blended families. It's a lot of work and can get stressful at times. I like the idea of weekly family meeting.
Hil'Lesha O'Nan said…
These are such wonderful, yet important tips! :)
Danielle said…
This is a great post. Thank you so much for this list. I am a single mom and one day I hope to get married again and I want it to be a smooth transition.
Mrs. Mashed Up said…
Great advice! Especially # 2. Planing together how possible issues will be addressed before they happen, and who will address them, and for how long that plan will stay in place, is wise.
Sweepster said…
This is wise advice. Blended families are difficult to get going simply by the complexities of the relationships involved. This advice will go a long way to facilitating the growth of those relationships.
Ann B said…
Great tips. There are so many blended families now and I am sure your tips will help many people,.
Sherri Jo said…
wonderful tips... inspiring to know it can be done. Thank you!
Risa Bledsoe said…
I think the disciplining part is important. It's important that the parents are on the same page and that the stepchild gets to know the step parent better before the disciplining is taken over by a step parent. I've never been in this situation and never hope to be, but your tips are helpful to others I know with step kids.
Great post and very helpful for the blended families! Thank you!
Deann said…
aww, a boy and a girl! If I were on your shoes, I' am very happy! Thanks for the tips! I will tell my partner about this. :)
Amanda Kee said…
Thank you for taking the time to share this! It is so important to work together as a whole when blending families. It isn't an easy task and takes a lot of work but will be so wroth it if one takes the time to make it work!

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