Adjusting To A Blended Family.

blended families

Blended families have become the new NORM with over 1600 new blended families daily in the United Sates.  There is little that is simple in any stepfamily situation. One thing for sure, blended families suggest no fairytale shows like the Brady Bunch.

Children in blended families are grieving, and more often not mature enough to explain their unhappiness. Keep in mind they have lost a since of the other parent and have to move from an environment they were used to.  Just changing your home environment is enough to overwhelm kids.  (i.e., school, friends, church, neighbors…). This stress can be overwhelming.

They can feel unwanted by a stepparent, feel alienated in the new family with new rules and or separate rules for kids of each family.  Each family came in with their own routines, their own rules and you still need to parent the way you did or you could cause resentment.  I specialize in helping adolescents adjust to life changes.  Schedule for your FREE 30 minute phone session at www.

Things to understand:

Parents need to understand basic child development so not to mistake normal behavior as inappropriate

  • Children under 10 years find adjustment easier. The forces that draw the stepfamily together coincide with the child’s needs. Younger children are typically more accepting. Nevertheless, they are quick to feel a sense of abandonment and competition if they feel threatened. They will also need your attention.  Don’t make too many changes in the time you have spent before blending your families.
  • Adolescents (10 -14) – have the most difficult time adjusting. Stepparents need to be sensitive to needs before playing the role of disciplinarian.  This is a stressful change and one not welcomed usually with open arms.  They will test the new parent and act out to get their other parents attention.
  • Teens (15 or older) – need less parenting. Older children prefer to separate from the family to form their own identity; they are less interested in bonding. Nevertheless, they are more sensitive to the expression of affection and sexuality in the family.  They can also get involved in peer pressure and experimenting while your back is turned focusing on the blending of your family.

It is important that the two families that came together out of love not only do family things together, but you still need to do your own thing as well.  Take your kids on a little trip or out for a day like the “old” days and enjoy your time as you had in the past.  This doesn’t need to change.  It is important to keep things that you did before you blended and it is also important to start new traditions together as a new family as well.

I have a blended family and this was our first holiday season together.  We cut down our first Christmas tree and all four kids just loved this.  This is one of our new traditions.  This is something they now look forward to.  However, we continued our Christmas traditions as we had in the past because it was too complicated trying to figure out new ways.  It will come in time, but it was best to leave things for the kids.  You also have to consider, you now have four families you’re trying to accommodate, and this can also be stressful on kids with all the traveling involved.

Open communication is key when blending a family. If you are struggling with your children adjusting I can help.  As an adolescent life coach, kids need someone to talk to, life tools and an understanding of someone who has been through the same adjustment.

Becky Shaffer


Published by beckyshafferliveinconfidence

I did the crazy and left my career teaching job after 19 years to work on and build my coaching business. I took a year off to follow my dream of being a life coach and using my skills, life lessons and training to help others find meaning in their life. While I do this, I am always growing, learning and finding more purpose and meaning in my life as well. Currently, I am life coaching and fitness coaching part-time , I continue to blog, meet with clients and I am back to teaching full time in Columbus City Schools, working with gifted students, teaching. U.S. History.

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