Blended families and non-blended families face many of the same issues with getting along and working together. The blended family has a few more players, but often the dynamics are similar. Whether you come from, have a blended family or not there are some tips for helping children getting along.
First to address the question in the title, when the kids don’t get along, it ripples through the entire blended family and causes a negative circle. It seems worthwhile to acknowledge the possible issues and correct as much as it can be done.
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Blend families work when there is a solid marriage. When others see respect, love and solidarity, it sends a clear message: we are a family. We respect each other as husband and wife. We love and care for all of the children in our lives. We are going to make this work, so get on board.
Agree on parenting styles
There has to be consistency and it has to be determined how parenting will be handled. Children will normally pit parents one against the other. The only way to prevent this is a plan where parents support each other.
Sibling rivalry is real
Competition exists. Children learn about competition early and they give it a try right in their own family. It’s normal and it is natural. It also needs to be controlled. Parents need to teach the importance of winning and losing with grace. So, watch it closely and make it a learning tool.
Recognize and encourage differences
If Joe doesn’t like basketball and doesn’t want to play basketball, that, is wonderful. There is no reason to change it. Find something that Joe loves and be supportive of that. Each family member is an individual and an important member of the team. Help each other become team members who support each other. Often it is hard to build a new family without destroying another. So preserve the children by building a team and someday they will change the label.
Respect for adults
A lot of problems that come into a blended family are caused because the children find a need to defend other family members, especially the parent or parents that they are not living with. The truth of the matter is that, as an adult, you don’t have to love your husbands’ ex-wife. You do however have to respect them as an adult, and a parent and children must be taught to do the same. When this happens there is more harmony in the homes of all who are involved.
Love is not automatic, it takes time and effort
It is easy to pretend that we love the new children in our family. However, true love grows. So build that love with the children and they will respond. It won’t happen overnight, but with lots of unconditional love and gratitude anything is possible.
Find a comfort zone
As an adult, you need to find your comfort zone and then you can help the children do the same. In one family it started with a step-grandparent. She struggled with her place in the family. She was not related by blood to any of her grandchildren. She was asked to chaperone an event at the school.
Her grandson had to introduce her to the teacher and this is what he said, “This is my Mom’s boyfriend’s, dad’s wife. Hope that works for you cuz she is my best choice to have here.” Once she had found her comfort zone, things changed from complicated to simply belonging. It caused a ripple throughout that blended family.
Your family, even it is traditional. can be blended, shaken and stirred by different personalities and ideas. The three keys are respect, love and acceptance. Create a team today.
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