Nowadays, blended families are a common part of family life, but that doesn’t make them any easier on children. It can be a huge change for kids, especially if they are dealing with a divorce, you getting re-married, moving house or even changing schools all at the same time.
Helping your kids and your partner's kids get along with each other can be a little bit tricky, but there are a few things you can do to help the process run a little smoother.
Give them their own space
If you can, give them their own bedroom where they can relax, keep personal items and be themselves away from the rest of the family. If you do need step-siblings to share a room make sure there are boundaries and another room, like a study, where they can go if things are getting too much.
Talk about respect for possessions
Make sure all kids are aware of what is theirs and what isn’t - it is important you teach them all to have respect for one another’s possessions. This includes not forcing them to share everything or using something without the owner’s permission.
Don’t have too many changes at once
It is important you gently ease your youngster into their new family – doing everything at once will only cause them to become overwhelmed. When it comes to blending families baby steps are the best way to go. This way it becomes a gradual process rather than hitting them with everything at once.
Don’t expect them to be the best of friends
Don’t force them to be the best of friends, they won’t appreciate it – you never helped to choose their friends before so don’t start now. In an ideal world your children and your partner’s would become BFFs straight away, but it’s not an ideal world. Expecting them to be close as soon as they meet is only going to set you up for a fall - right now all you need to do is help them get along. Once they start to realise they actually like each other the rest will follow.
Remember, while you might be on top of the world in your happiness at finding a new partner, it is going to be very different for your child. Blended families don’t just happen when a couple get a divorce, but no matter how it came about your little one is going to be going through a tough time figuring out their emotions and new role, so be patient.