I read an interesting statistic the other day that stuck in my head, did you know that 1 in 3 Americans is a stepparent, a stepchild, or part of a blended family in some way? Currently, 65% of remarriages also involve children from a prior marriage—which means a whole lot of blended families are here to stay! And while it’s becoming more common for families to be blended, it isn’t necessarily making it any easier for those of us trying to make it work in our own lives. Here are a few pieces of advice that can make your journey a little smoother when creating your blended family.
It Isn’t Always Easy
Mixing together dynamics and personalities from different families can feel crazy sometimes! You deeply love your partner and your new children, but love alone doesn’t wash the dishes, follow instructions or love back. It can be heartbreaking to struggle in uniting a blended family and sometimes it might feel like it will never work. If you’ve encountered a biological parent badmouthing a stepparent or an older child refusing to recognize the validity of their stepparent, you’ve seen firsthand, like I have, how complex and emotional blended families can be. Thankfully, there are many resources for blended families to help them to not just “get by,” but thrive. My book, The Empowered Stepmother is an excellent resource and is written from a place of love to help stepmothers grow into their role as the matriarch of the family.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Only 1 in 4 of relationships that will make a blended family seek premarital counseling before a wedding. While you might feel like you’ve already been through it before, that was with a past relationship and under different circumstances. In your new loving family, you’ll face unique challenges, new people and plenty of excitement as well. You and your fiancé, when opening up and being honest during premarital counseling or workshops, will grow not only your blended family, but also your love and respect for each other.
Plan Ahead, But Don’t Plan Too Much
Developing a parent plan with your husband or wife can help a great deal when establishing expectations off the bat. There can be a great deal of pain, discomfort and hurt involved when mixing two families together, so remember that a blended family can’t just pick up where things left off. With new players, new love, new rules and in many cases a new home, a little preparation can help. While some people might picture a blended family like a smoothie, where a bunch of new ingredients combine to make something delicious, the reality is more like a fruit salad—everything won’t always mix perfectly. That’s why it’s important to not plan too much. The unexpected will happen, and when it does, you should first remember the love that brought you all together.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s nothing easy about parenting, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re struggling.
Strengthen Your Blended Family with Tuniscia O the Empowered Stepmother
Tuniscia O the Empowered Stepmother offers mastermind groups, an Empowered Stepmother series, speaking presentations and more all aimed at strengthening blended families. Learn more about stepping into your role as a step-father or step-mother with help from Tuniscia O the Empowered Stepmother. To learn more and get in touch, visit our website here.
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