Whether you are looking to fix a relationship, solve a problem or deal with step parenting; communication is key to an amicable resolution. Blended families come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. A blended family may be that of a step mom or step dad with a birth mom or dad. A blended family may be adopted children with biological children or something in between those examples. No matter what type of blended family you are, challenges may arise.
It’s tough to raise children in a biological family setting but it can be even harder in a blended family environment. When you give birth to a child you are planning on loving that child and protecting that child no matter what, it can be hard to step back and allow a step parent to come into your life and implement your agreed upon discipline tactics. As a parent we tend to be very maternal or paternal with our children in some cases extremely so. Marrying another person who is not a biological parent of your child will make you rethink parenting, you will have to let go and realize that the step parent is in love with you and your child. The step parent wants the same thing you dream of; a happy, safe, loving environment that your child can flourish in and become a mature adult with good morals, attainable life goals and a well balanced emotional state of mind.
The child of a step parent may not be open to having this new “parent” come in and tell them what to do, give them time outs or take away special privaledges. It is up to the biological parent to work with both their child and the step parent to ensure both are aware of what is expected from each of them and assist in developing a level of respect between the two. It is normal and to be expected that a child will feel confused about the divorce or separation of their biological parents, during the transition process of welcoming a step parent into the picture each adult should tread lightly but firmly to crete an easy transition for the child but also allow the child to understand he/she must respect this new family member.
If you are at a loss for how to involve your new partner into your child’s life, seek counseling. A counselor will be able to provide an unbiased view of each adult in the household and evaluate the child’s emotional state of mind. A counselor will be able to guide you through this transition process in a way that will benefit all family members involved. If you are opposed to involving a “stranger” in your lives, maybe you can find a mutual friend or family member who will be willing to lend an ear and a helping hand for this sensitive situation.
Whatever method you choose to determine how this new family member will be involved in yours and your child’s life you must remember to keep the communication open in the household. Your child has a voice and needs to feel safe and secure expressing their opinions and concerns in a productive way. As the parents you must create an open communication environment which means leading by example. A step parent and a parent should communicate in the same way they expect the child involved to communicate or else the child will feed off of how the parents react to situations and this can create an eruptive situation which could cause the blended family to fail in the long haul.