Blended families are becoming more common in Illinois. They may involve people from different cultures, and spouses sometimes have children from more than one previous union. Blending families is challenging. However, these are some helpful tips for adults to make the process easier.
Talk about parenting styles
It is normal for two people to have different parenting styles. Some of the techniques one person uses may be unacceptable to the other. With some approaches, there may be room for compromise. However, some issues may become contentious if a couple cannot agree. If that happens, it is essential to seek professional help from a therapist. Today, many family therapists have experience helping blended families.
Boundaries are also important for parents, stepparents and any children involved. For example, many professionals recommend that stepparents avoid disciplining stepchildren unless there is an emergency. Roles for parents and stepparents should be clearly defined. It is important for everyone in the family to maintain healthy boundaries. They must still respect differing opinions or viewpoints, and this applies to both children and adults.
Encourage open and honest communication
With clear communication, many problems can be avoided. Honesty is important for parents and children. Kids may feel that parents minimize their feelings or responses during a divorce, and some kids may respond by withholding information from their parents. Kids may struggle with anger, depression, anxiety or many other emotions. Parents and stepparents can help them by creating an environment where they feel comfortable communicating their feelings and needs. This is another area where it can help new couples to seek counseling.
Although it is inevitable to encounter issues when blending a family, addressing these points before the marriage happens can help. By having a plan ahead of time, there can be fewer arguments about roles, boundaries and communication later.