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Blended Family Counseling

Merging families can be challenging. The dynamics between new step-children and step-parents may take time to settle out. Difficulties between a step-child and a step-parent can lead to larger marriage issues if not addressed. Some studies show that it can take from two to five years for a new blended family to settle into their new dynamic. Blended Family Counseling is an approach to help resolve problems that occur as a result of combining two families.

The Challenges of the Blended Family

Unlike first marriages, blended families face a different set of problems. Common challenges to a blended family are

  • Issues over routines
    • Blended families frequently struggle with creating new routines that accommodate all members of the new family
  • Different rules
    • Bedtimes, chores, and other expectations may be different with each step-parent. It’s important to agree on rules to help create a stable environment
  • How to discipline
    • This can be a problem with unblended marriages. When two people remarry you may now be dealing with 4 different ways to discipline the children when considering ex-partners, as well.
  • Resentment to the new step-parent
    • This is, possibly, an uncomfortable and frustrating experience for the step-kids. Being disciplined by someone who isn’t their mom or dad can lead to resentment. Bonding with stepchildren will take time.
  • Rivalry among step-kids
    • Mixed marriages with kids from both sides increase the likelihood of combative behavior among the kids, especially if there appears to be any unfairness
  • Co-parenting
    • Working with exes brings up its own challenges
  • Keeping the fire alive
    • Raising children is always a challenge. Incorporating the dynamics of a blended family into the mix can put pressure on the adults and stress the relationship.

 

How Blended Family Counseling Helps

If you’re not married yet, pre-marital counseling is a good start for couples who have previously been married and have kids. This can help you equip yourself before trouble hits. If you’re already remarried then Blended Family Counseling is beneficial to establish a family consensus on rules and expectations. This type of counseling opens the doors for discussion on discipline methods and developing strategies for dealing with exes. In addition, it creates a safe space for kids to express their feelings without judgment.  The goals of Blended Family Counseling are to create family cohesion, develop coping mechanisms for the kids when they feel frustrated, and to help all confront any heavy issues that need to be discussed.

When you’re ready to deal with any challenges facing your blended family call Lifeologie Counseling Grand Rapids.