It’s not easy being a blended family. As the divorce lawyers in Oklahoma City at Strange Law Firm can attest, it can sometimes put a lot of strain on the family dynamic and tear a family in multiple directions. At the same time, blended families are becoming more and more common in America, with people entering new relationships and bringing family from old ones along for the ride. It’s important to understand the many issues that blended families can face so that you can meet them head on and know exactly how to address them.
What Causes Strain in Blended Families
According to GoodTherapy, blended families come with considerable stress because of conflicts that arise due to conflicting emotions, differing parenting styles, and just trying to work out the new relationships between family members. It’s an all-new situation, after all, and one that can be fraught with peril.
For starters, there’s the introduction of new parents. Adults may be entering a step-parent situation from a point of having no children at all before, and the change can feel abrupt. Even in scenarios where a step-parent is bringing their own children into the relationship, forming relationships with their new step-children may be difficult.
The relationship between step-children and step-parents isn’t the only one that can cause some stress, though. There’s also the relationship between step-siblings that can get tricky. Adjusting to this new dynamic can take time, and in certain cases, uneasy feelings between new step-siblings can develop into a bit of a sibling rivalry.
In these cases, children may even feel like they have to fight for attention or to maintain their “place,” and could act out as a result (bullying, trying to assert dominance, etc.). It’s important to meet this challenge head-on, making sure that you and your spouse are in agreement about how to tackle the issue. Once you’re united in solving the problem, you can work on ensuring equity between your children, and helping them establish a relationship with one another that is positive instead of adversarial.
Lastly, strain in blended families can come from a looming ex. While they might not be an everyday fixture in the household, in cases where children are involved, they are still a parent, and so, they are still officially part of the family. It’s important to establish boundaries, true, but also to work with your ex in order to ensure the overall health of your family and reach a compromise that suits all parties involved.