Divorce remains common in the United States. As a result, blended families are one of the fastest growing family groups in the country. However, even though blended families are becoming more prevalent, they are not without challenges.
According to World Village, children who live in a blended family are three times more likely to need psychological counseling or psychiatric care than other children. They are also 50 percent more likely to develop health problems than children living with both biological parents. So, it’s important that parents creating a blended family take their role seriously.
So what can you do? Here are five important things to keep in mind as you build your ideal blended family.
Realize That Creating a Blended Family is Much Different Than Creating a First Family
Don’t compare or do things the way you used to do them. Things are never going to be the same as before because you are creating a new family with new members.
Make Time to Invest in Your New Family
Don’t fall under the misconception that everything will magically fall into place. According to experts, it takes the average stepfamily seven years to integrate. Some families fall into place faster than others. Some never achieve harmony. The main ingredient, as with all good families, is time spent together. Create fun family memories, take photos and frame them for display around the house.
Open Communication Lines
Realize that not all children are happy about having to create a new family. The best way to work through negative emotions is to talk. And more importantly, listen. Create a safe environment where children aren’t afraid to share new feelings and find solutions together.
Look for Resources
Rely on advice from experts and friends who have gone before you or are figuring this out at the same time. There are also many books, support groups and websites your can turn to for help.
Look at Creating a Blended Family as a Fun, Fresh Start
Don’t go into a blended family thinking it has to be or should be a certain way. Look at everything with fresh eyes. Create new fun family traditions—or concoct a special blend of existing traditions, with a little dash from everyone. Create new labels. If you don’t like step-mother—how about “bonus mother?” What about a new Sunday dinner menu that you, the new family, create together? Mix up Christmas. Mix up Easter. Create a new family motto—have fun with it! You and your new blended family are making the rules here.
For more simple ways to have fun with your family, follow Donna (aka, The Lady With The Alligator Purse) on her website.