Did you know that one in every three people live in a blended stepfamily worldwide? That means 30% of the world’s children are currently growing up in a blended family. It could take several years to form new bonds, so here are some of the basic elements that make a happy blended family.
Respect Members of successfully blended stepfamilies have respectful relationships and are civil toward each other at all times. They don’t ignore, hurt on purpose or withdraw when having difficulties.
They are compassionate toward the other family members and display affectionate behaviour. Their various developmental stages and needs are understood and honoured.
Members of happily blended families treat each other fairly and favouritism is not tolerated. They are aware of not over-compensating or over-indulging stepchildren or biological children.
Spending quality time alone with each family member is vitally important while doing things together as a family is also a priority. Alone time is also regarded a necessity for all members, children and parents included.
Open and clear communication is always encouraged in step families that blend successfully. Emotions are not bottled up, but rather encouraged to be voiced and properly heard as well.
Clear boundaries are set for every family member and family rules which have been agreed to by everyone, apply. A healthy balance is struck between being a disciplinarian and a supportive stepparent while bonds are formed.
All the parents are involved in the children’s lives in happy blended families. A strong co-parenting partnership is established between biological and non-biological parents in support of the children.
Conflict among family members is handled effectively and members cultivate a non-judgemental attitude. There are few opportunities for misunderstanding and the level of trust is increased.
Family rituals & routines form an integral part of blended family life, providing ample opportunities for bonding interaction. Special occasions are meaningful and unite families.
Successful blended families provide a reliable and secure environment, based on a solid marriage between the parents, which is more challenging to nurture than first marriages.
Having already experienced the trauma of divorce, members of these blended / step families are loved, valued, appreciated, encouraged and emotionally connected.
Such families have realistic expectations of their respective lives intertwining and always leave room for growth. With time, the family will grow closer and choose to spend more time together.
This post was originally published on FairDivorce.co.za and is republished here with permission.
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