As a baby, adjusting to a new environment may be easy, but it is much more challenging for older children and teenagers who are aware of their likes and dislikes and find it difficult to compromise. When parents separate, divorce, and remarry, children often have to adjust to a family with totally different dynamics and personalities. They may experience sadness, disappointment, anger, and even anxiety over their parent’s decision. 

The goal of successfully blending families is for children to eventually accept having a second home with step-siblings, realizing that it might be a better situation in the long run than having parents living together who do not get along and are constantly arguing. But this process takes time, and there will surely be many bumps on the road.

Open Your Heart to Communication

This advice is for both parents and children. Being transparent in communicating feelings is essential and allows family members to determine the emotional state of one another accurately. Healthy communication offers a sense of acceptance and understanding. Children learn to trust their parents and step-parents with whatever problems they face at school or in their new relationships with step-siblings.

Have One-On-One Time With Each Child

Sometimes, children need a parent’s undivided attention to open their hearts. A parent needs to spend quality time with a step-child by initiating activities to share, even if going for a walk together. This lets the child know they are valued and cherished just as much as their step-siblings.

Realize That the Period of Transition Takes Time

The transition of blending families can and will be challenging at times. Switching back and forth from one house to another is not easy for children and can often cause them to be irritable or temperamental. This requires much patience and understanding, especially during the initial adjustment period. Showing empathy and letting the child know you realize it is not easy for them can mean a lot.

Learn From Other Blended Families

Learning from the example of others is often a good way to cope with a new and unfamiliar situation. Seeking out other families who have gone through this blending process can be a valuable resource. Many blended families use sports, music, books, or other interests or hobbies as ways to connect and bond with one another. The important thing is spending time together, whether helping your step-child with homework, sharing a pizza, or just watching a movie as a family.

Becoming part of a blended family can be difficult, but we have found some things that can help ease the transition. For children, sometimes a picture book that relates to their struggle and encourages them to bond with their new family can be a significant asset. Jill Ciccone Pike has written a children’s book, Our Blended Family, that relates the experience of two sisters as they begin life with their new blended family. This book can offer comfort and guidance in a fun and lighthearted way to other children going through similar circumstances as they try to adjust to a new normal.