If you’re new to step-parenting, it can look like a whole new world that requires learning everything you can in a limited period. The desire to be accepted by the new family can be overwhelming and potentially cause you to go off-track. In the UK, 1 in 10 children live with a step-family, so you’re not alone in the step-parenting world. Hopefully, you can find something worth learning which will compel you to give it a try in your home. Even better, it would be great to hit some excellent parenting milestones.
- Keep communication lines open and unambiguous
Already, as a blended family, there is a likelihood of brewing apprehension, concerns, subtle gridlock, etc. These emotions are pretty typical for step-family members, but the secret to effectively dealing with them lies in your communication channels. In a situation like this, setting the foundation right is critical. That’s because you can only build a solid blended family relationship when the fundamentals are strong enough. Undoubtedly, some conflict is inevitable, but how you choose to resolve it will go a long way to impact future relationships.
To do this right, work on improving your listening skills and be deliberate about seeing things from others’ perspectives. It is critical to keep communication clear, concise and friendly. When dealing with any remaining prejudices you might have about the new family you’re joining, you will find it easier to tackle them first. Additionally, be open to discussing sensitive issues with your blended family members without coming off as judgmental. There may be issues that would be most efficiently dealt with by calling in the professionals. Organizations such as Kinspire provide on-demand developmental support for you and your family. As many people have found, things may seem rocky from the beginning, but over time, you will notice the gradual ease that sets in finally.
- Be aware of everyone’s development rate and practice compassion
It is common for members of the blended family to be at different stages of development. You may have teenagers, toddlers and even adult children. The point is, it is impossible to treat all of them the same way. Teenagers, without a doubt, can be pretty tricky to handle in blended families. Even toddlers can give you a bit of a hard time when they begin to see you as the ‘stranger’ replacing their ‘original’ mother or father. With adult children, they may see you as a step-parent who came into their lives pretty late and has nothing to do with them.
Regardless of the emotions associated with their perceptions, it would help if you understood these reactions. It pays to take it all in your stride while you do everything you can to blend in smoothly. Consider doing something pleasant and memorable for your new family without coming across as a desperate people-pleaser or boot-licker. An example is to find out more about lovebook creations. This allows you to think about the genuinely affectionate moments you had with your blended family and have it turned into a storybook format. Now that can earn you extra points.
- Be genuine in your compliments
Giving a compliment is an acknowledgement of appreciation. It is also a courteous articulation of admiration for others. Therefore, when you notice something positive done by a blended family member, genuinely commend their actions. You will be surprised how much of a difference that could make in your relationship.
- Have realistic expectations
Failure to set realistic expectations can cause a downward spiral in your relationship. You cannot be oblivious to the unique set of challenges and hurdles that come with step-family life. However, you can deal with it when you have realistic expectations of this newly-reconstituted family life. More so, you will have to learn to navigate cordial relationships with ex-spouses or former partners for the sake of the kids you ‘inherited.’