Preparing to Blend?

Adele Cornish, BSW

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Blending two families a process that takes time (seven years on average). There is no such thing as “instant love” between those in a step relationship. Family members need plenty of time to get used to their role and the expectations within the new family unit.

If you are a biological parent:
Your children will feel anger, fear and uncertainty about blending. These emotions can linger for some years so encourage children to express them in a positive manner. Praise and encourage your partner (their stepparent); they are someone else to care for and support your children.

If you are a stepparent:
Be patient. Children need time to adjust to having you as a part of their life before they will allow you into their life. Take the initiative in conversation; ask about your stepchild’s day and display interest in their activities but avoid coming on too strong. Let them set the pace of the relationship. Show openness for affection but don’t thrust yourself into their space.

Here’s somes tips to help you succeed:

  • Once you begin to think there may be a long term future with the person you are dating, arrange to meet the children
  • Choose somewhere the children feel comfortable for example a playground, movie outing etc.
  • Begin short outings, no more than a few hours at a time and gradually increase your time spent together
  • Remember relationships take time to build, don’t try to force or rush things
  • Don’t think your new partner will replace the children’s biological mother or father
  • Continue to spend quality time alone with your children so they know they remain important to you

To continue reading Part 2 which includes advice for those with children who are resistant to blending, please click here