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The Unique Challenges of Parenting in a Blended Family

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The Unique Challenges ofParenting in a Blended Family*If your previous relationship involved abuse of yourself and or your children ignore oradapt these tips to your situation. The safety and mental health preservation of you andyour children are more important than anything mentioned.**If you are bringing a child into a relationship who has trauma, or the need foradditional supportive help you have an obligation to discuss your child'sunique needs with any partner before the children are involved. Yourpotential partner deserves a complete picture of the family that they may becommitting to. Don't forget to include the ways that your child is fantastic. Talk with your partner about parenting, expectations, plans, and thechildren's other biological parents. Be patient with your partner, especially if they are coming into yourrelationship with no children. Parenting is not something they can learnovernight.Parenting is very personal. You need to have conversations early and often.Discuss your parenting styles and how you intend to handle certain situations. It is important that you and your new partner are on the same page aboutmental health. Bring up the topic early and see how much of a priority theyput on it. Be honest with yourself and talk to your partner about doing the same. Sitdown and explore your feelings, review your actions and make sure you'renot favoring your children over your stepchildren. Give yourself some grace. If your blended family is not working out in the wayyou envisioned don't be hard on yourself. The best way to get your family onthe correct path is with communication and possibly professional help. Be a Team

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Before you introduce your child toyour potential partner have anage-appropriate conversation withyour child and be sure to select ameeting time and place that playsto your children's strengths. Ask your stepchild how they wantyou to refer to them. Is it okay ifyou call them your son ordaughter? This shows them thatyou respect their boundaries butdon't see them as "second best."If the child has a moment wherethey say something like "You arenot my mom/dad so I don't haveto listen to you" try and get to theroot of why they are saying that.Once things have calmed downyou can have a conversation aboutrules and boundaries as well asbetter ways to communicate theirfrustration. Let them know if theyhurt your feelings. If sibling resentment is occurring inyour family do not beat yourself upover it but address it as soon aspossible. Sit down with thechildren to have an open andhonest conversation and don'thesitate to go to family counselingor seek professional help early.Don't expect the kids to see theirstepparent as a parental figure rightaway. This is a huge transition forthem and you need to let themadapt at their own pace.Do NOT speak poorly about abiological parent where the childrencan hear you. Even if they are notthe best parent** let the child formtheir own opinions. Have fun together. Pick an activitythat you know your child/stepchildenjoys and go as a family. Take pictures as a whole family whenyour situation allows. If you expect that your child has pasttrauma let them know that you’realways there for them to talk aboutany feelings they're having.Recognize their struggle and getthem into professional help. Things that need to be kept track offrom house to house (instruments,uniforms, homework, etc.) can causea lot of stress. Consider creating asharable Google calendar that allparties have access to, including thekids.Communicate Prioritize Or visit us at: Want even more tips? Scanthe code with your camerato read more!