“No one asked me”: How to Help Children Cope with a Blended Family

childrenanddivorceParents are often excited and hopeful about remarrying and even about building a new family with their soon-to-be spouse. However, blending families with children is more difficult for the children than many parents want to believe. Children can feel like an outsider in this new family, especially when their parent marries someone who already has their own children. Keep in mind that your child did not ask for their parents to separate or divorce, did not choose your current mate and did not ask to be thrown into a new “family.”

Children often resent their new stepparent, their new step-siblings, and the new rules, schedules and traditions put in place by the stepfamily. Children can feel powerless and overlooked in this process of blending the family. These feelings of isolation and weakness can lead to frustration over small things. For example, a child may not appreciate a stepparent that does not knock before entering the child’s bedroom or a stepparent that demands weekly family nights or family meetings. This can all stem from the simple fact that the children do not see the stepparent and siblings as “family.”

Allow your child some time to adjust. The child is experiencing a lot of changes that may be scary or unwanted, even though the changes are exciting for you.

Parents considering a blended family need to have realistic expectations of the challenges that lie ahead. You must develop a lot of patience because it may take children years to feel attached to a step-family. Many do not ever change their feelings but simply learn to deal with their circumstances.

Currently, 65-70% of second marriages with children end in divorce. Want to increase your chances for success in a second marriage? Include your children. Consider their feelings. Children should not make decisions for the family or for your life, but they should know that they are valued, that their opinion and feelings are being heard and that they matter and have a voice within the family.

Remember that you are forcing your children (they didn’t ask for this) into an unnatural family system, and you may have to work hard to ensure your family is able to blend successfully (and that your children feel understood and believe they are an important part of the family). Do not enter a stepfamily without taking it seriously and speaking with everyone that will be involved. Make sure you continue reading about how successful stepfamilies operate, and use their ideas on what works and what doesn’t.

If you would like to discuss options for starting a new family, including prenuptial agreements,adoptiontermination of parental rightsrelocation or modifying a current parenting schedule, contact our office today to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION.

Our office serves the following cities in Middle Tennessee: Nashville, Antioch, Brentwood, Franklin, Spring Hill, Columbia, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Gallatin, Nolensville, Clarksville, Dickson, Ashland City, Fairview. This is not a complete list. Please contact our office to see if we serve your area.

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