Challenges Blended Families Face
Second and subsequent marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages because when divorced individuals remarry, they often have baggage. This baggage can include children from previous relationships and all that comes with raising a child, such as interaction with a former partner, child support payments, and the child’s personal needs.
This does not mean that an individual with children cannot have a successful, happy second marriage. It does mean that when a parent remarries, he or she should be aware of the challenges that can arise with the second marriage, particularly if his or her new spouse is also a parent. Take time to learn about the challenges blended families often face and brainstorm solutions for them with your new partner. Your remarriage can be a difficult transition for every member of your family, so be prepared to face the following challenges.
Working Around Parenting Plans
When both adults in the household have parenting plans to uphold, scheduling can be difficult. For a blended family, it is important to deliberately make time to do activities together, even if these activities are as simple as eating dinner or watching a movie together.
If possible, try to arrange your parenting plans so all the children are together in your household at some point. You cannot make time for family activities unless there are blocks of time where every child is home. Communicate with your former partner to see if you can alter your parenting plan to make it easier for your child to adjust to living as part of a blended family.
Meshing Different Parenting Styles
You and your new partner will probably have some parenting differences. There is nothing wrong with this, but understand that you will both need to be flexible and willing to adapt your parenting styles somewhat to establish yourselves in a healthy blended household.
Lay out house rules together and hold the children to these standards equally. You and your spouse are a team, and as the team leading the family, you will need to present a unified front to the children. This can be difficult at first and can require your children to adapt to new household practices and routines.
Issues of Territory Infringement and Percieved Favoritism
An act that seems fair and appropriate to a parent can appear very different to a child, especially when the child is already feeling resentful, angry, confused, and sad about his or her parents’ divorce. Having a child share a bedroom with a new step sibling can seem like a pragmatic move and an efficient use of space, but to the child, it can feel like the step sibling is creeping into his or her home and taking away the security of the room. Parents should tread carefully with these issues and if necessary, turn to online parenting guides and counselors who specialize in parenting after a divorce for help.