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The Great Challenges of Blended Families

Updated on October 9, 2013

Think of the Kids First.

Kids are the biggest victims in any blended family situation. Thus, you need to consider these important things:

1. In every decision you make, consider first what will be good for the children.

2. Don't force them to immediately like and get along with stepparents and stepsiblings. Ease them into it without making them aware.

3. Stretch your patience far and wide.

4. Be a good example at all times. This means you and your spouse should never fight in front of the kids.

5. Set rules in the house even before the marriage.

6. Allow the children to mingle with one another and get used to the setup before you move in together.

7. Always, always think of the children's overall health in all aspects.

The Effects of Blended Families on Children

These days, a lot of children are confused about the actual definition of a family. Gone are the days when it was just as simple as one mom, one dad, brothers and/or sisters. Today the basic unit of a family can no longer be placed in a box because of the many complexities involved with divorces, remarriages, mergers of kids, and new births. And with such arrangement come the intense effects on children, their programming, their emotional stability, and their upbringing.

What is a blended family?

A blended family is also called a step family. It comes in different variations because of the complicated intermingling of relationships. Basically, it stems from the remarriage of two people who bring to the new family their kids from previous marriages. In these modern times, this supposed exception or deviation is already becoming the typical family setup in some places.

How are the children in blended families affected?

Of all the effects that a blended family can bring upon the members of the family and surrounding people and circumstances, the ones with greatest impact are those involving the children. More often than not, kids don't have a choice in the matter and were suddenly thrown into this odd and difficult situation.

In these situations, children belonging to blended families tend to grieve and to become angry and depressed. They have lost their typical dream of a normal, happy family and were forced into another one that they were not used to. All of a sudden, they have to treat some strangers or acquaintances as if they were their actual family members. They feel as if they have also lost a biological parent and are sometimes alienated in the new family. As a result, some tend to become rebellious; others simply start to be withdrawn. There are also those who lose interest in their studies, hobbies, and other prior preoccupations.

Because these kids are torn between the two biological parents when it comes to custody, they feel pressured to choose and also feel helpless since they cannot do anything about it. Furthermore, they also begin to develop the need to compete with the other children for the attention of their biological parent. More than anything, these young ones just want to be loved, assured, and given attention in these challenging times.

However, the effects of blended families on the children are not all negative. If the couple truly loves each other, they can still be great parents to their children. Parents show more affection and love to their children because as the mature individuals in the situation, they tend to understand what their children are going through. As a result, they can extend more effort in giving them care, love and understanding.

Blended families can be healthy families. As a parent, do give your own children and your stepkids too some space and time to heal and get used to the new setup. Be sure to make them feel loved and important. The nurturing atmosphere around the house is necessary because the emotional support of each member of this family can be the key to living harmoniously under one roof, despite the different backgrounds and the wounded feelings.

Parents, Prepare for the Worst!

Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Top 8 Blended Family Challenges

Since you and your spouse had decided to build your own blended family, then you have to be prepared to accept everything that goes with it.

It's going to be a long, arduous, and difficult journey. If you love your spouse and you're determined to make this family work, then take on the challenge--- no matter what it takes.

Here are the common challenges you'll encounter in a blended family:

1. Getting kids from each side to like each other.

2. Handling conflicting backgrounds and interests.

3. Coming up with house rules and disciplinary measures that will suit everyone.

4. Planning and implementing family activities that will everybody enjoy.

5. Handling the awkwardness of having the original spouses/parents in your lives.

6. Making the children accept, respect, and like their new stepparent.

7. Avoiding ugly fights, hurtful words, and disrespectful actions.

8. Coming up with creative ways to unite the family.

These are the most common challenges you're bound to encounter and will need to overcome in a blended family situation. There is no set formula as to how short or long you'll be able to resolve the problems and conflicts.

Nevertheless, always remember that the most powerful weapon you can ever have is genuine love and care. This will motivate you, give you patience and determination, and lead you to better things in the future. Sooner or later, the kids will be able to adjust and understand too so long as you never tire of loving them and showing them how important and special they are to both parents. They will also show you just how much you mean to them.

Great Advice for Parents in Blended Families

Success Tips from Blended Family Expert Ron Deal

What If a New Baby Arrives?

Photo Courtesy of Jomphong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo Courtesy of Jomphong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Place Your Vote!

How many babies do you intend to have with your new spouse?

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How to Make the Blended Family Accept and Love the New Baby

Even before there's a bun in the oven, you and your spouse should already plan ahead upon marrying if you intend to have your own baby in the future. This will certainly cause a new wave of problems in the blended family.

Remember that your kids already have too much to handle as it is. The news of a newborn that's about to join the already chaotic home might come as a big shock.

So how do you handle it? Here are some important tips:

  • Be responsible in family planning. It's better to have good family planning so that there won't be any surprises that children may not be able to handle or accept. For example, you can give it around two years before trying for a new baby. This is the normal adjustment period for children from different marriages to adjust to one another and to the new family setup.
  • Tell the children yourself. Never risk the kids learning about the new baby from someone else or finding out about it when you have not told them yet. What you can do is call for a family meeting, set it like a celebration for good news, and give the birth announcement. Or if you feel that the kids will need a bit more time to process such information, you can ease them into it. Tell stories about other families with new babies or reminisce their own infant-hood by asking them to help you sort out old pictures.
  • Enroll them in a program. There are many hospitals, schools, and organizations offering programs for kids to prepare them for a new sibling. Allow them to be educated and to engage in fun activities. This will also be a great way for them to come up with their own plans for a new baby and thus work up the excitement for it.
  • Give them important jobs. In order for them not to feel left out, you ought to make them realize that they are to play very important roles. Give them a list of "jobs" that need to be done in preparation for the baby and allow them to choose what they would like to accomplish.
  • Turn it into a festive event. Get the kids excited about the coming of the baby. Allow the children to decorate the nursery. Include them in planning a baby shower as well as a welcome party for the baby.

Yes, there will be kids who may be very stubborn and would refuse to participate. Don't force them nor scold them. Still make them feel loved and special. Give the attention they seek, but continue with the plans and festivities along with the other kids. Sooner or later, they might start to feel like wanting to join in. Give them the opportunity to do so then.

A new baby is a great reason to celebrate and keep everybody busy. Oftentimes, blended families begin to unite or deepen their relationship with one another when there's a cute, little bundle of joy to keep things in a light, bubbly, and fun.

This Can Also Be Your Future Blended Family!

Photo Courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo Courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An Inspiring Poem: There's Always Hope

A cacophony of sounds, we're making our rounds

To see which kids are going out of bounds

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Seems like trying to unite a dog and a cat


Perhaps our blended family started out all wrong

We're like torn paper or a sad, broken song

But all the pain shall soon be gone

If we work hard, the best can be done


Indeed we're all different, a one-of-a-kind mix

But sooner or later we'll come up with the right fix

Love, patience, and understanding will reign

Let's just make this work so we won't go insane!


There's always hope for this family to be great

All we need to do is to keep trying and to wait

These two families will soon make a nice blend

We'll become good friends and stick to the end.

What Do You Think of This Hub?

We'd love to hear about your own blended family experience. Feel free to write about it in the comment box! :)

Visit our website to learn more regarding blended families, gather new tips and ideas, and become a better stepparent!


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