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Stepparenting or Blended Families

Most divorced men and women under the age of 45 remarry within 3 to 4 years of divorcing. People with children tend to remarry sooner than those without children. Here are some ways to make it easier to blend your families.

  • Talk about things before you remarry. Talk openly with your children and future spouse about what they expect and what they fear. Ask each of them how they picture future family life. You may be able to calm some fears, but there will be some tough times ahead. Let everyone know that they probably will feel awkward around one another and that it will take time to adjust to the changes.
  • Agree on a type of discipline. Agree on setting limits and how to discipline children before the wedding. Both parents need to be consistent when disciplining children. When you first blend families, it is usually best for the natural parent to discipline the children. In this way, child and stepparent are not set up for fights and hurt feelings. As the relationship between child and stepparent grows, co-parenting becomes more realistic.
  • Keep your marriage strong. A strong bond between you and your new spouse is important. While parenting may have its ups and downs, don't let your marriage suffer. Spend time together away from the children. Plan a weekend getaway or meet for lunch or dinner. The stronger your marriage is, the better you will be able to face the challenges of the new family.
  • Start new traditions. You will keep some traditions from each family, but it is also good to start new traditions. Children may spend holidays with another parent, or expect that everyone in your new family will do the same things in the same way. Everyday traditions such as hugs before school, pizza nights, or notes in a lunch box are important too. Keep doing some things that everyone is used to, but don’t be afraid to try new ones.
  • Have weekly meetings. A weekly meeting will help your family talk to each other and make family goals. Make meeting rules so that all family members can freely express themselves.
  • Spend time every day with each child. Try to spend quality time with children every day. Plan individual activities with each child, whether natural or step. Spending time one-on-one helps you talk about things that might not come up in front of other family members. It also helps you get to know each other better. Building a new family takes time.
  • Find support. Locate a support group in your area. You can learn how other families are dealing with blending their families. Healthcare providers or mental health professionals can help if serious problems develop. They can also answer questions you may have about blending a family.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-11-05
Last reviewed: 2012-11-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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