Blending two families together successfully can be a big challenge. There are a number of difficult issues to overcome from jealous step siblings to different parenting attitudes. Many children will feel insecure following a relationship break up and may resist your efforts to create a new family for them.
Dont allow any negative attitudes to put you off though and keep working towards that balanced, happy family atmosphere you know is possible to achieve. There are many practical parenting tips available that can help you to deal with stepfamilies.
Practical Parenting Strategy
It is important that all sets of parents discuss an effective parenting strategy and stick to it. This can be difficult but is essential for the happiness and security of your children. They need to know that they will get the same responses to certain situations so that they understand how they need to behave.
For example, if you set curfews for teens in one household then these need be close to or the same as the rules in other households the teens may share for consistency. You do not have to strictly adhere to other peoples parenting styles but it is important you respect them and work together to give your children a settled and comfortable life.
One important way to create feelings of security and trust is to establish clear boundaries for everyone in the new extended family. Make sure you define the role that each part of the step family will play so that everyone understands where the boundaries are. Here are some tips for setting clear boundaries for extended families:
Most children respond very negatively from discipline by step parents.
Therefore it is much more effective for you to establish step parents in a counselling rather than disciplining role from the very beginning. Leave the biological (or custodial) parents to take responsibility for disciplining children at least until a strong bond has been established in the new extended family.
Sit down and agree a basic set of house rules for everyone to follow. Write these down and put them in a prominent place.
These rules can be discussed and adapted to meet different situations in the future but they should be followed by everyone including parents. This will set good examples for children and help them to understand how they need to behave. For the sake of consistency try and keep these rules similar to those used in the other households the children may share if possible.
Dealing with Conflict
Conflict will be a big issue as you merge two families as different lifestyles, parenting techniques and personalities clash. You need to deal with any conflicts that arise quickly before they can escalate into serious problems. Communication is a key way to deal with disagreements and arguments. If you are having rouble with conflict then you can get some effective practical parenting from professional family advice counsellors that could help you find solutions.
Nothing mentioned in this article is professional advice.