A positive outcome that many divorce lawyers see after helping clients terminate a failed marriage is when those divorced people go on to begin new happy marriages with different families members involved.
So blended families are not uncommon to family law attorneys, nor are the challenges that these situations can bring.
What Is A Blended Family?
A blended family or stepfamily is one where spouses choose to re-marry who were both previously divorced and each has children from their previous marriages.
It is the bringing together of two incomplete families where children will have two parents: their biological parent and a step-parent as well as new step-siblings.
Challenges Faced In A Blended Family
Although the idea sounds like the perfect solution for taking two broken families and making a whole one out of two halves, blended families do face a number of challenges that are initially challenging:
- A lot of change is involved, which can be difficult for some children.
- Two different parenting styles and lifestyles are brought together, which can lead to friction.
- New personalities intermingle that may require a period of adjustment until each side is familiar with the other; children may challenge the authority of step-parents, adults may at first expect too much from step-children and family love may be lacking until everyone can act as an actual family.
- Spouses or even the children dealing with these frustrations may initially attempt ultimatums rather than cooperation.
How Can Such Challenges Be Overcome?
In bringing two groups of parents and children together in the hopes of creating one happy family, divorce lawyers stress that it can take a lot of pre-planning and plenty of time for everyone to adjust.
It may also require some assistance from legal services in terms of creating and modifying existing parenting plans and visitation schedules where the other biological parents of blended family children are concerned.
With four parents in the picture now and children from two different families, building a happy family unit requires parents within the blended family to be open with each other and their children yet also agree on a collective parenting plan that considers the involved factors.
Most importantly, both parents in the new family must do their best to help all children, not just their own, to feel safe, secure, loved, accepted, and valued as a part of the family.
Parents must work together to create limits and boundaries for all children and agree on how all of that will be enforced.
Establishing new family routines will also benefit everyone and help both children and adults find their place in the new family unit.
Communication, Acceptance, and Openness
Family law attorneys are always hopeful that families who have gone through a break-up of what was once a happy family unit can one day become a healed family comprised of new members who have experienced the same event in their lives.
Yet it is usually accepted that getting to the point of happiness and feeling like a family will take some time and effort.
When parents encourage a loving environment with both natural and step-children where everyone can be open and communicative, legal professionals point out that the end result is usually well worth the effort.
The challenges of blending a family are many; however, in time new spouses can join together as partners in a common goal to achieve a new happy, healthy family unit!
Foreman Family Law
309 North Washington Avenue, Suite 12
Bryan TX 77803