Family Relationships in A Blended Family

A blended family, or stepfamily, is created when two individuals join forces and bring a child or children from earlier relationships. Children may be close in age or have significant age gaps in a blended family, and you may also have a kid together. Creating a blended family is not without its pleasures and difficulties. Parents and kids struggle as they become used to new situations and interactions. While stepparents may find it challenging to parent new children, children may struggle to adjust to a new stepparent as the one in control.

It is essential to explain expectations to kids and ensure they comprehend their stepparents position to make the transition easier (Kumar, 2017). Stepparents can demonstrate their love for their stepchildren by supporting and elevating them without using their physical bodies.

Relationships in a Blended Family

There are numerous relationship challenges children face in blended families. Change can also stress youngsters, especially older children (Carr & Utz, 2020). More stress may result from more significant adjustments. The effects of entering a blended family are frequently most significant for children. They have already experienced their parents’ divorce. They then have to get used to a new parent and some new guidelines. They might act out or become emotional in their displeasure. Relationship between the stepparent and the child. Children may have trouble adjusting to a new stepparent. They might be accustomed to speaking well about the companion of their parents. Joining a blended family can affect this dynamic. The child could grow to hate them when their “friend” assumes parental duties. Kids can think their new parent is trying to “replace” the former one. Also, kids could be hesitant to trust a stepparent. After a divorce, they could feel like their biological parent deserted them.

As the children start caring for the stepparent, they may struggle with new feelings. Anxiety over betraying their biological parent out of affection for the stepparent may exist. A child’s relationship with their stepsiblings. Moreover, sibling conflict may develop on new levels. Children can believe that they must fight for dominance and recognition in their new home. Another concern for a child is that their biological parents might begin favoring their stepsiblings. Children may also bully a stepsibling, which might be more frequent in children who are competitive or insecure (Carr & Utz, 2020). Parenting and visitation schedules. Visitation with the other parent can sometimes bring difficulty. The youngster may be accustomed to daily unconstrained family time. Their lives may feel less free or flexible due to a parenting plan. When familiar structures collapse, it can be stressful for kids. Visitation can get complicated.

Conflicts in the schedule might lead to tension. New family members might not have much opportunity to spend time with each another. Children’s concerns about their stepparents can be heard by the non-residential parent, which could make the already stressful situation between divorced parents worse. Sorrow and loss following divorce. Grief may also impact the transition, especially after one parent passes away, and remarriage may occur (Carr & Utz, 2020). A youngster may still be mourning the loss of the other parent in this situation. A youngster could also experience sorrow over the breakup of their old family unit. If so, a remarriage might serve as another trigger. Children can require more time and space to complete their grieving processes. When that happens, they can adjust to the new parent at their own pace.

Being a new parent in a blended family. Some adults who do not have children of their own join blended families. As stepparents, they will become parents for the first time. The transition to this new duty could be difficult. Someone could find it difficult to begin a new relationship. Being a good parent and being welcomed by a stepchild might be difficult. Parenthood transitions typically take some time. Also, getting along with a partner’s children could take some time. connections between former spouses and stepparents. After a breakup, some people may choose to move on and focus on their new relationship (Davies, 2022). This can suggest that they stopped communicating with their ex-partner. But, things become much more complicated when children are involved. Children may prefer to maintain a close relationship with both of their biological parents. The child must spend time with each parent according to a court-ordered parenting schedule. This could imply that the parent who got remarried needs to keep in touch with their ex. In blended families, the ex-spouse may be referred to as the “non-residential parent.”

Relationships with Former Family Members

Some consider their partner’s interactions with their ex a threat (Davies, 2022). The non-residential parent may also believe the stepparent is not treating their children appropriately. Any of these circumstances has the potential to aggravate a blended family. The adjustment may be more challenging if there are strained relationships. Sibling conflict in a blended family can reach new heights if people are not careful to intervene before it gets out of hand (Kumar, 2017). There may be a novelty and enjoyment factor to adding additional family members in the early days after relocating families live together. Then, often, reality settles in. Your children may object if they have to share an area and your attention with siblings they do not know well. They might shoo their stepsiblings away or start conflicts that do not seem fair. However, feeling uncomfortable with new brothers and sisters is not usually a sign of rivalry. It can be a sign of emotional upheaval brought on by recent changes in the family.

Conclusion

With a blended family, establishing family ties can be a difficult task. All relationships must be based on communication, but mixed families require it even more. Family members must be willing to listen to one another without passing judgment and must share their opinions and feelings honestly and openly. Respecting each family member’s privacy and uniqueness is also essential. Everyone should be afforded the space they require to feel at ease and respected, and assumptions about what they want or need should be avoided. All family members can feel connected and supported by creating a positive family culture. This may entail establishing new family customs, acknowledging special occasions and accomplishments, and identifying shared passions or pastimes in which everyone can participate. As a crucial element of any relationship, trust is also crucial in blended families where there may be lingering feelings of distrust or animosity.

References

Carr, D., & Utz, R. L. (2020). Families in later life: A decade in review. Journal of Marriage and Family82(1), 346-363.

Davies, V. (2022). Challenges of life in a blended family, Care for the Family. Available at: https://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/parenting/challenges-of-life-in-a-blended-family/ (Accessed: March 9, 2023).

Kumar, K. (2017). The blended family life cycle. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage58(2), 110-125.

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