Although building strong relationships in a typical family setup can be quite difficult, integrating two families is a bigger and tougher task. Here are some tips on how to make the process of blending your families easier.
Get the Kids Involved in the Wedding
Getting your kids involved in the wedding will allow them to feel integrated into the new family dynamic and possibly make them look forward to the transition. You can ask them how they would want to take part in the event and find a fitting way to include them. With around 2.4 million weddings being performed in the U.S annually, there are so many ways to incorporate your children into your wedding. You could bring them to your cake tasting, include them on your wedding website, make them bridesmaids and groomsmen, or have them be your flower girl or ring bearer.
Make the Moving Transition As Easy As Possible
Changing living environments is difficult. It has been noted that at least once in their lives, approximately 63% of people relocate to a new place while 37% remain in their original communities. So, with such an event occurring so often in people's lives, it is crucial to turn a possibly stressful transition into a fun family event.
To make moving easier, let your kids take charge of decorating and arranging their new bedrooms. You can have a family painting day where everyone gets to paint their bedroom their desired color. Take the kids shopping to find fun decorations to add to their bedrooms. They may want to print picture of their family to put on the wall, which is a great way to commemorate your new blended family.
Establish Household Rules
This is a crucial element to allow any family to function well. As you figure out how you want to parent your children as a new couple, it is important to put up a united front. Take time to discuss your discipline expectations and make a list of values you want to instill in your children, like honesty and obedience.
Also, set rules like how much TV the children are allowed to watch. Establish a bedtime schedule as well. You may not agree on everything as you tackle your differing parenting beliefs, but communication is crucial so that you don't send mixed messages to the children, which may make them confused and insecure.
Work on Individual Relationships Within The Family
Stepparents should be intentional about spending time with their stepchildren so that they may have a better appreciation of who they are and what they like. The idea is to be patient in this process by leaving it to grow naturally as you consistently put in the effort. Continuously try to figure out what they need from you as a parent, and make bonding time less structured to allow them to be themselves in a safe and comfortable space.
Always be open to how they may want to spend time so that they don't feel controlled. During this time, you may find common interests with your stepchild, which will strengthen your relationship even more. Also, remember that the same amount of attention should be given to your biological children so that they may also feel special and valued even in the changing family setup. Spending time with your spouse is also crucial, which may be easily overshadowed when the busyness of family life takes over.
Plan Family Bonding Nights
As you plan such activities, opt for ones that you can all do together to promote a sense of inclusion. With 40-50% of marriages in the U.S ending in divorce, the need for compromise, inclusion, and proper communication becomes more apparent. Some activities you could plan for your bonding nights include movie nights or backyard camping. Bonding time allows everyone to interact naturally and makes the family more united. Playing games and laughing together lessens tension and brings stepfamilies together beautifully.
These are just a few of the numerous ways you can implement to make your blended family work well. Ultimately, if you're completely invested in making your blended family work, you're likely to be successful.