My parents divorced several years ago when my siblings and I were all in our adult years. My father recently remarried and there began our blended family. His new wife has children who range in ages from 7yrs to early 20’s, while my siblings and I range from age 28 to 34 – it’s quite the spread!
The adjustment hasn’t been difficult for me, personally. Having been an adult when my parents divorced and when my father remarried, made it a little easier to adjust. After all, I no longer lived at home, and had a life of my own. While we all got along and seemed to settle into this new dynamic, a smooth transition isn’t usually the case for all blended families. There are many factors, people, relationships, and bonds to take into account when attempting to meld both families, whether you are the parent, child, or new spouse.
Keep communication open
It’s not always easy to speak your mind without offending someone else – communication is the one thing seldom mastered. By establishing a method of communication that works best between you and each family member, you can address problems or gritty situations before they snowball or avalanche out of hand.
Start with an open mind and be genuine
Regardless of your role in a blended family, don’t push yourself onto new step-family members. I know it’s natural to want to form a strong bond immediately, but this could actually work against you if you push too hard. Take it one step at a time, be yourself, and let your relationship flow naturally.
If you’re the new spouse, remember not to impose a “parent” role onto young or adult children. Keep in mind the kind of relationships that still exist between birth parents. Not all children of divorced families have a parent who is MIA. Where children experience the divorce of their parents in their adult years, there will very likely still be loyalty and strong bonds to your spouse’s ex.
Make room for one-on-one time
I think it is important to allow your spouse the space they need to have time alone with their children, young or old. It’s important to respect the relationships and bonds that have formed between them before you, and allow room for that relationship to continue to grow. Unfortunately, that may mean spending time together that may not include you. On the flip side, take time for you and your spouse to reconnect, and, most importantly, take time for you.
If you’re an adult child with a parent who has remarried, be mindful not to meddle in your parents’ relationship, give them space to adjust to their new lives as a couple, and try to be as supportive as you can. If your newly-wed parent is happy, why interfere with that?
Plan group get-togethers
This is a great way to create bonding and relationship building between both families. When you become more comfortable with each other, your time spent together is more relaxing and fun!
Are you a part of a blended family? What advice do you have for children and parents in this type of family dynamic?
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