Statistics estimate that over 40% of Americans have at least one step-relative.
Blended families are becoming the norm, but the relationship survival statistics are grim. Over 60 percent of marriages involving children from previous relationships fail.
Marrying someone with children from a previous relationship can take a toll on your marriage. Keep reading to find out here the biggest problems blended families face.
1. Disciplining as a Step-Parent
One of the most common blended family problems is learning how to discipline as a step-parent. Step-children often act out, especially after their life has been drastically altered by a new marriage.
Maybe they’re ignoring your simple requests to contribute to household chores. Or maybe they’re testing their boundaries when it comes to curfews and arguments.
Whatever the case may be, it’s not easy. And the most common response you may hear when attempting to discipline is, “You’re not my real parent!”
So now what?
The first step is to discuss the misbehaviors with your partner. Bring them up to speed with the issues and talk about what punishments they feel are appropriate.
Then, approach the child together, as a team. Let the biological parent do the talking, but make sure they use words that represent you as a couple, such as, “We feel that you’re acting out.”
Over time, your presence will become more accepted and you’ll gain more authority and control as a parental unit.
2. Getting Used to a New Life
Life as a blended family is never simple, both you and your children may have issues adjusting to a new life.
Maybe in previous years your weekends consisting of solo movie nights and shopping trips with your teenager daughter. But now, add a toddler and an elementary school-aged child to the family and your weekends will look a lot different. Now you’re juggling the interests and schedule of three children — all while attempting to keep the romance alive in your relationship.
To ensure you aren’t missing anything, embrace technology. There are many apps out there to help blended family problems. The most important being a shared calendar that allows every family member to enter their own obligations.
3. Bonding as One Unit
Another one of the common blended family challenges you’ll likely face is bonding as one unit.
If dad always handles his biological child’s activities and mom handles her own child’s schedule, you may as well still be living as two separate households. Instead, work hard to include everyone in the family when attending events. Encourage step-children to cheer on their siblings at sporting events and share interests during free time.
Along with that, it’s important that you establish new traditions as a blended family. Holidays and vacations are often tainted with memories and traditions from the first marriage.
Instead, create new traditions that include all family members. Try cooking a family meal together for Christmas or having a putt-putt tournament on every family vacation. No matter what tradition you create, your family will enjoy bonding and learn to grow stronger in their relationships with each other.
On top of being a family, you need to work hard to keep your relationship with your partner alive. A second marriage is never easy so you’ll need to increase your communication with each other to succeed.
Helping Blended Families Overcome Problems
If your blended family is experiencing any of these problems, know that you’re not alone. All of these problems, and many more, are typical and expected.
But what can you do to overcome these issues? Besides the solutions presented here, consider family counseling. You can choose to include the whole family or focus on couples counseling to secure the family’s foundation.
Relationship Suite offers therapy sessions for blended families exactly like yours! Contact us today if you’re ready to become a stronger blended family.