Tips for Establishing Healthy Blended Families

Go slowly. Don’t expect to fall in love with your partner’s children overnight. Take it slowly, and get to know them. Love and respect have to be learned and a step parent has to earn them.

All brothers and sisters have ‘falling out’Â periods, so don’t assume all family arguments are the result of living in a blended family.

Beware of favouritism. Be fair. Don’t overcompensate by favoring your stepchildren. This is a common mistake, made with best intentions, in an attempt to avoid indulging your biological children.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Be sure to discuss everything. Never keep emotions bottled up or hold grudges.

Make special arrangements. If some of the kids just visit, make sure they have a locked cupboard for their personal things. Bringing toothbrushes and other standard fare each time they come to your home makes them feel like a visitor, not a member of the blended family.

Find support. Locate a step parenting support organization in your community. You can learn how other blended families address some of the challenges of blended families.

Spend time every day with your child. Try to spend at least one quiet time period with your child (or children) daily. Even in the best of blended families, children still need to enjoy some alone time with each parent.

Patience is a virtue! Don’t just cross your fingers and hope the kids will like each other. They need time to get to know their stepbrothers or sisters. It shouldn’t be hurried.