Parenting Techniques

How to Draw a Blended Family Closer Together

Blended families are increasingly common, and though this is an opportunity for family bonding and growth, it can also be a breeding ground for conflict. Research suggests that blended families are more likely to experience stress than non-blended families. It is normal for members of blended families to argue and disagree, but learning how to manage what is said, done, and thought can help strengthen a relationship since conflict does not have to damage a well-functioning family.

A blended family is, by definition, a family composed of people who were not married initially. Some blended families form as the result of a divorce, while others bring together divorced parents whose children are already adults. Regardless of how the family was formed, there will likely be some tension between the adults. Maybe one partner feels neglected or ignored by the other. Maybe the parents fight all the time. Or maybe underlying issues, like trust, keep the entire family from reaching its full potential. Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to overcome these challenges and draw out the strengths of your blended family.

Tips To Strengthen Your Family

We often think of family as something that happens to us, but if you want to make important decisions that you are comfortable with, it is important to get to know your own family. If you are looking to strengthen your family, you can do several things to get the ball rolling.

  • Recognize your role – The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate the season with family and friends. But they can also be stressful, especially when family members are not on speaking terms. In these instances, it is helpful to remember that your family members are not your enemy. They love you and are there to support you. By recognizing your role in the family dynamic, you can better support your family members.
  • Share a Vision – The key to strengthening the bonds of a family is putting the wants and needs of the collective family first, and the best way to achieve this is by working as a team. It also does not hurt to have a family mission statement, which is a personal declaration of family values and aspirations.
  • Bring Everyone Together – When two families merge into one, it can take time and intention to unite as a cohesive blended family. An important step is bringing everyone together under the same roof. That may be tricky for some, as their loved ones may not live in the same country. As such, going through the process of parent sponsorship in Vaughan, ON, or elsewhere, to bring your loved ones closer can help make the blended family feel whole. With all members of the new family finally united in one home, you can focus on bonding through shared daily life experiences. After that, simple things like family meals, game nights, and outings can make a huge impact.
  • Spend time with each other – If you are a busy parent, you may not have a lot of free time to spend quality time with your family. (Who has time for that?) Between work, school, running errands, picking up the kids from practice, and dinner, you will be hard-pressed to fit in time to nurture meaningful connections with your loved ones. However, research shows that spending quality time with your family can have a positive effect on your health.
  • Apply the house rules – A house rule is a basic way of communicating family expectations to your children. For example, tell your kids not to do something dangerous, like play outside without a jacket in the winter. That is your house rule: dress for the weather. It also specifies the consequences of breaking the rule. “If you go outside without a jacket, you will stay inside until it warms up.”
  • Encourage the child’s relationship with their grandparents – The baby boom generation is one of the largest cohorts in history. With it comes an aging population and many children. While more and more grandparents are providing full-time childcare for their grandchildren, those who are retired to a senior home similar to Chelsea Senior Living may miss quality time with their grandkids unless proper visitation schedules are put in place. Creating a routine and establishing consistent communication is important for grandparents and grandchildren alike.
  • Be prepared for setbacks – Family relationships can span generations. Letting everyone know when a grandparent passes away, or a child is welcoming a new baby into their family can seem like a daunting task. But being prepared for the inevitable, and knowing how to handle those inevitable setbacks, can help the family unit stay strong, healthy, and happy.

Blending a family is usually an extremely rewarding experience. You may have kids from two different families and the in-laws, and all of this interaction can predictably lead to some tension and conflict. Many people face challenges when blending two families, especially when the stepchildren are young children. Both parents will want the best for their children, but these two parents may also have quite different ideas of what that “best” looks like, and that may be causing tension in the blended family. Clear communication is key to helping each parent understand the needs of their children, and that communication can only happen if both partners have honest, open conversations.

The biggest benefit of blended families is that you get to experience a whole new kind of laugh. With blended families, you find that two families can be incredibly close, or they can feud and argue like the best of rivals. This is a true testament to how every family is unique and that loving someone does not always mean loving everything about them.

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