Forming stepfamilies is a common practice nowadays in America. A recent survey claims that about 1/3 of all divorces will form stepfamilies. When you remarry as a divorcee or a widow, most often children will be part of the package, whether they are yours or the other person you have chosen to enter into a domestic partnership or marriage. With this new marriage, you have chosen to take on another family; there will be choices to be made and you may even have to change the way you perceived your married life to be. These choices and new outlooks will have a compound effect on many aspects of your new life with a new family. While these new changes mean adjustments to everyone involved, there are some things that can help blended families to work towards unity, work out differences, and live together successfully.
The first and most important step is communication. Clear and safe communication outlets need to be established before day one, especially between the biological parents and the step parent. Knowing who the disciplinarian is is a good example. Many children will not listen to the step parent because they are not their biological parent, so it is best if the biological parent be the disciplinarian from the start. Communication needs to be open and honest, and happen regularly. Build trust from the start. Have family meetings to discuss concerns and suggest solutions, as well as to create some family bonding activities. Also, keep ALL parents involved, whether biological or step. Communicate often with each other and be on the same page. Consistency is important when trying to build a routine within new, blended families.
Rituals are another important thing to remember. Discussing as a family activities in which to do together to build better relationships is a great idea. Resolve to do this and be consistent, making these activities things you do as a family every week. Follow the link to some good ideas for family bonding activities: