You’ve found a new love, and now you’re ready to become a blended family. This process takes time and careful nurturing, but it is something you can do successfully. The tips below are designed to help you seamlessly transition from two families to one.
1 – Make Sure You’re in a Committed Relationship before Involving the Children
Before you commit to blending your families, you need to commit to each other. If you’re still in the early stages of dating, leave the children out of the equation. You need time to nurture your relationship and see if it will last long-term. You need time to work through the early obstacles in your relationship, which children may perceive as red flags.
Once you feel completely secure in your relationship, you can plan how to introduce your children. You, the adults, should meet each other’s children before your children meet each other. Give the kids time to get used to you being around before introducing another factor. After interacting with the children separately, you can find a neutral space to introduce them to each other.
2 – Find Compromises That Benefit Every Family Member
As you begin blending your families, you will need to make compromises. For instance, one family will need to move in with the other, or you will need to find a new home that accommodates both families. When you make these compromises, consider how they affect all parties. There should be a balance of sacrifices and benefits on all ends. Is one child giving up more than the other? Is there something you can do to correct the imbalance? These are questions you need to address with every decision.
3 – Dedicate Time to Each Relationship within the Family
Blended families involve a series of small relationships. You have a relationship with your partner, with your children, and with your partner’s children. He or she has the same relationships, and then your children have relationships with one another. Each of those units needs to be nourished. Dedicate time to build bonds throughout the family, encouraging healthy communication at every turn.
4 – Make New Memories without Erasing the Old Ones
Your new family will come with a new set of memories. You will have vacations together, special movie nights together, and traditions that are all your own. Enjoy forming those memories, but don’t eradicate the old ones. You can honor times you had in another relationship without detracting from the future. Let your children display photos of your former partner, and talk about fun moments from the past. Sharing these stories with the whole family will bring you even closer.
5 – Seek Blended Family Counseling
Blended family counseling is designed to guide you through the challenges of blending a family. Your therapist can help you create an open flow of communication throughout the family. If conflicts arise, you have a neutral party there to help you through them. If someone is resistant to the changes, you can find the underlying reasons for the resistance. Then you can work together to ensure success in the next chapter of your life.
Family Counseling Associates offers blended family counseling, as well as couples therapy, co-parenting counseling, child counseling, teen counseling, and much more. If you are interested in our confidential counseling services, contact us at (978) 222-3121.