Creating a blended family is an exciting time, but also can pose some challenges. Blended families require patience, intentional effort, and a great amount of understanding. Whether a blended family is coming together due to divorce/remarriage, or other circumstances, it’s important that a supportive and strong foundation is built in order for a blended family to succeed. This article will give some tips on how you can foster strong bonds and create a loving environment if you plan to or are currently blending a family.
Create New Traditions As a Family
Traditions are something that will automatically bring a family closer to one another, and they can be as unique as you’d like! It’s important that when you are brainstorming ideas for a new family tradition, you include everyone in the process and let voices be heard, especially if children are involved. This will allow for everyone to feel a sense of togetherness and unity. Some good starting points for new traditions are activities and rituals surrounding cooking, recurring family outings, and shared hobbies and/or interests.
Additionally, make extra effort to spend free time together as a family. This can be as simple as family dinner once a week, or a family movie night. It will help to build strong relationships within and communicate that the family operates as a unit together.
Respect and Communication
Communication and respect needs to be prioritized in order for a blended family to work cohesively. Regardless of biological connections, everyone should have the chance to express their feelings, emotions, and concerns regarding this lifestyle change. It can be helpful to establish family meetings in order for everyone’s voices to be heard regarding the new family unit. You may consider getting legal or professional help in the early stages of building a blended family.
There may be initial conflict regarding certain family members’ boundaries, opinions, and personal space. Each family member should be encouraged to treat others with respect, no matter their relationship or role in the family. This will help to create a positive and respectful family dynamic for years to come.
Foster One-On-One Relationships and Individuality
If a blended family is exceptionally large, it can be challenging to build valuable one-on-one relationships. Step-parents and step-children should make a conscious effort to bond with their new family members, as well as new step-siblings. It is an opportunity to connect through shared hobbies and interests. These relationships can last a lifetime and are extremely important to build as soon as possible when creating a blended family.
Similarly, it is important to nurture individuality. Every member of the family has a unique set of skills, personality, and passions. In a blended family, it can be common for members to feel like their individuality has been lost amidst the craziness. Make an effort to truly foster and encourage individuality, especially in the early stages of a blended family.
Create a Loving Environment
Last but not least, focus on providing unconditional love to all family members. Love and acceptance are the foundation of a strong and lasting blended family. Forgiveness, empathy, and love, should be openly demonstrated to all family members in order to cultivate a nourishing, loving environment for all.