Finding love after divorce is a wonderful feeling. You’re opening your heart and your family to someone new which opens a whole new world of possibilities. There are many ways to approach blending your new family unit. We’ve found these strategies to be especially helpful when establishing your new blended family.
1: Be realistic and patient, but optimistic
The change can be hard, but worth the work. Patience and understanding are key. Your children will need time to adjust to your new relationship, just like they needed time to adjust to the divorce. Being cognizant of your child’s needs while maintaining an optimistic outlook can help everyone get to a place of understanding and happiness sooner.
2: Find new ways to bond
New partners and relationships provide for exciting possibilities and changes. These can be new and exciting opportunities for you, your new partner and your child from both families to bond. Hobbies like hiking, bowling, puzzle night, Taco Tuesdays and all family friendly ways to strengthen that bond and start some new traditions. It can be fun to rotate which family member picks the activity. This can help expose everyone to their interests and open up the opportunity to create new bonds.
3: Start new routines
Blended families often include children from both “new” partners. Include your new spouse and your children together in establishing routines. Have sit down “technology free” meals. No phone or television during meals is tough but if it opens opportunity for communication. Try it! Read to your children before bed and set up parent-child outings. Creating a structured routine for you, your partner, and the children can be fun and beneficial to the relationship. You will be pleased with the results.
4: In your new normal create a new “Us”
In this new “normal” you can establish a new idea of what “us” looks like. If your children and stepchildren are finding it difficult to bond, help them by finding an activity they will all enjoy. This will encourage bonding and help them see they have more in common than they thought. Finding other blended families in friends or in age-appropriate media to show your children that this new “Us” is normal.
5: Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication is key to every relationship. Be the example to your children. Maintain clear communication with your new spouse about parenting dynamics will help in that stability. Clearly communicating to your children how your new spouse will be participating in the parenting dynamics will help them to feel like part of the team.