How to Cope with Common Blended Family Problems

If you are joining your family to another, these Common Blended Family Problems are issues you may need to be prepared to deal with. Check out our tips to create harmony in blended families.

As you join two families together these Common Blended Family Problems may occur.  Most families can find their groove and make things come together smoothly, but it often takes some time to make that happen.  These things are items to be watchful for when you blend your families.  You don’t want to overlook potential problems.  Become familiar and aware of potential problems so you can nip them in the bud before they occur.


Children jealous of new spouses or children.  This is typically the most common problem in blended families.  Children often become instantly upset and jealous of the time spent on the new family members.  This is expected, completely normal and not something to be angry over.  There are many reasonable methods of controlling and alleviating this problem.  Making sure all children involved have plenty of alone time and attention from their parents will go a long way.

Spouses jealous of attention given to children.  This may not be mentioned as much, but it is almost as common.  It can be tough to lose the time, attention and affection of your new partner, even when you truly understand the reasons.  Occupying your time, creating your own bond with the children and focusing on making your times together better are all great ways to make this better.

Difficult relationships with the other parent.  Sadly, there is still a lot of drama from the other parent in many new blended families.  Custody and visitation disputes top the charts, but it can also come down to simple jealousy on their part.  Getting along with the ex spouse or other parent can be rocky at best.  Trying to keep the focus on he kids is the best method, but even that can be difficult to maintain at times.

Undefined discipline rolls. Discipline is a slippery slope with blended families.  Step parents need to have some form of control and authority, but they also don’t need to be disciplinarians most of the time.  Sitting down and creating true solid rolls for everyone will help prevent confusion and fear.

Creating a good functional family dynamic can be tough in a blended family.  These common blended family problems are things you need to be aware of and prepared to deal with.  Mixing families means different personalities, values and lifestyles coming together to find a common ground.  It isn’t easy to deal with, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you will have in your life.

Do you know of any other common blended family problems that we should address? Tell us in the comments!

31 thoughts on “How to Cope with Common Blended Family Problems”

  1. What happens when you try to make the blended family work. I am the custodial parent and my sons dad is remarried with another child. Sometimes my son feels that he comes second to his current family. My sons dad said he would come to his bday party but his dad waited to the last minute to buy a ticket and decided not to come, I suggested he drive but he didn’t want to drive with his wife and daughter for 12 hours. Under stable. I suggest he at least comes by his self so that at least he has his dad in attendance he declines that offer, my son is disappointed. What can I do to try and help me not feel like that he is 5

  2. Hi everyone I need help I need to save my relationship of 4 years I am so in love with my fiancé we have been living together for 3 years now also with my son who is 6 and my two step children one boy who is 5 and one girl who is 11 at times things couldn’t be better everyone is getting along and everything is running smoothly but then every now and then my step son while playing with my son will tease him and tell him to play wrestle games but when my son gets to rough or will react to being teased and punch him (which I tell him to not do and to just walk away when being teased) my step son will cry as loud as he can to get his father to attend to him as quickly as possible making it all my sons fault and that he is always innocent my partner always takes his sons side and gets so mad at my son I try to step in and find out what happened what was the reasons for him hurting him was it provoked or no ect but my partner thinks what I’m trying to do is get out of disciplining my son when all I’m trying to do is make sure that everyone is fairly being disciplined when my partner walks away more often than not my step son will stop crying starts playing having a great time meanwhile my son is upset because he has just been told off for doing something he didn’t do or did do but because he was only reacting to being provoked to do it early on in our relationship my step son would blame my son for things so he would get in trouble once in his fathers arms while we were arguing about what just happened he would turn to me and smile which was just like my worst nightmare I’ve tried speaking to my partner about this behaviour but he won’t believe me and thinks I have something against his son this happens more often than I would like and I don’t know what to do it’s killing me I don’t want to leave my fiancé because of this

    1. Your partner is putting his son first so you should put yours. If he isn’t interested in fairness you shouldn’t be neither. Instead if trying to convive your partner about things he isn’t open to hear, tell him that no matter what you won’t accept him getting mad at your child and that if this is something he can’t agree with, it’s better that you break up. Any unbalanced relationship comes with sorrow and unhappiness. If your partner reacts with your child in a way you don’t like state it. He is making it clear for you that his child comes first no matter what. Do the same and fix the unbalance.

  3. What if you aren’t married but combine homes now for almost 3 yrs. It has been hard for me to make a bond with his three kids all teens when i came into the picture. Now he blames me for not trying but his two daughters had liked me at first and now not so much because of his ex and our house rules. His son has always been quiet i felt I could bond woth him because he was a young adult I didn’t know how. Now our relationship is pretty much done because i tried teaching then about responsibility, chores etc. I don’t know what else to do.

  4. One big struggle is money. When a child sees their step psrent buying their step or half sibling things that they can’t have due to financial reasons, there is often jealousy. And it just solidifies that they’re not as important to the step parent as the child by blood.

  5. My blended family problem is this my husband feels like he can’t say anything to my son his step son but a lot of times he is just assuming things and being hard on my son who is 15 my son will not speak up for himself and so when I have enough I let my husband know it, so I feel like it’s my husband and I and then my son and I I just want a family that’s all I keep telling my husband he is the adult he needs to be kinder and he doesn’t see it this way I’m ready to run ! What should we do !

  6. One big problem in my blended family is the “us vs. them” mentality that my step-daughters have adopted. They lie about things to get my kids in trouble and are sometimes really nasty to my kids. I know that their mom is fanning the flames at home to make our lives as difficult as possible. It’s hard to know how to handle it without them thinking I’m being biased.

  7. I have a blended family….it’s truly the biggest challenge I’ve had in my life! Together, we have 5 kids- 4 teenage girls and one pre-teen boy. My step-daughters (3 teenage girls) are completely out of control. They are disrespectful to their dad, me, my children and our home. They do things like steal, lie, break rules in our house, call us names, yell at their dad, swear at him, etc. I feel helpless because I do not have the relationship with them in order to parent them; however, my husband is failing miserably at correcting some of this behavior. I try to support him in offering suggestions but this, of course, backfires in my face. It would be great if you could write more about setting and maintaining rules in a blended family and how to enforce respect when your kids don’t like their step parent or their step siblings.

    1. I agree. When my husband and I first started dating, he let his 15 year old daughter call most of the shots. My son was like 10 at the time, and was much more easy going, so while he would get jealous at times, he wasn’t overly difficult. But my husband and I couldn’t see each other when he had his daughter. For months. Then she would want to tell him when I needed to leave, how much notice we needed to give her if we planned to get married, tried to say that we were not allowed to have sex when she was there, and a myriad of other ridiculous “demands”. I understand allowing time for the child to adjust, so I played along for a while. I finally refused to play into the charade any more and she eventually realized I wasn’t going anywhere. But my husband coddled her for so many years and let her walk all over him for so many years, and still does and I witness it and get mad that he continues to allow it. I can’t say anything as her stepmother, and when I try to bring it to my husband’s attention, he agrees but doesn’t do anything about it. Or he gets mad and says that I just hate her. She still doesn’t acknowledge my existence half the time, so I tend to avoid her as well. The difficulties she placed on our (me and my husband’s) relationship are hard to forget and, honestly, I do still judge her for it and maintain this level of animosity that I cannot shake. I think it’s the fact I have zero control when I witness her, to this day, being disrespectful to her father, while he, with the control, does nothing. I love my husband, and she’s off to college in the fall. So I’m almost free of the ridiculousness. But there were times when I didn’t know whether or not it was going to work.

      1. Hi Jennifer, I would love to hear some advice from you as I am dealing with what you are going through with your husbands children. But only it’s reverse, my teenage daughters do not like my boyfriend of 2 years. They have nothing nice to say about him and get upset with me for staying with him. They say that I put him first, I act different when he is around and that I neglect them when I’m with him. My boyfriend of course feels that I am letting my kids call all the shots and that I am coddling them. I agree, I think since I have been divorced I have lost control and I am afraid to upset my kids in fear of losing my relationship with them. It makes me feel like I’ve failed as a parent. My boyfriend has been nothing but nice to my kids but they remain disgusted with him. My youngest daughter is 16 and she has tried to accept him by going on camping trips with us and hanging out with us at other times. But she has made it very clear that she doesn’t like him. I don’t know what to do! Sometimes I think I should break it off with my boyfriend since my kids don’t like him. I mean after all my children are the most important thing in my life and I hate disappointing them. But on the other hand, I’m a 40 year old divorced, single mom who deserves to be happy! Will my kids like any man I’m with? How long will my boyfriend put up with it? Do I even have a future with him? This sucks!

  8. I grew up in a sorta-blended family and it is tough. All of the things you said happened and it’s good to have other parents aware of these things to help avoid any issues.

  9. I remember longing for my step-mothers love and affection. It was really rough on me when I didn’t get it 🙁 Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ok so the problem that I am having.. and maybe it’s just me or I’m doin it wrong. I feel he treats his kids differently than mine.. He’ll tend to his kids and not mine.. Example from this morning.. he woke up his 2 girls after I had made breakfast for everyone. And served his 2 girls a plate and sat down and ate with them.. while my daughter still in bed and my son in his room.. To me it was him taking time to serve his but neglected mine.. His girls do not live with us full time.. so when they are here I try to treat them equally.. loving and caring.. they get a scratch or boo i tend to them as i would my own… I treat them as my own.. The kids get along for the most part.. My son (14) can be a bit bossy and I nip that in the butt when I see it.. my daughter (13) his daughters are (12 n 10) so they all pretty close in age.. I do feel left out of “his family”. I try to take time for each of the kids.. i have ask him to do the same with mine… as in something fun! Not just to talk or teach my son how to swing an axe..
      Hopefully I made sense in my comment and can get some advice?

  10. I grew up in a blended family and I would recommend that the step spouse find some way to communicate and/or something special they can do with the step children. I always felt like it was them and us sometimes.

  11. both of my sisters have blended families and the hardest part has been the ex-wife in both situations. THe other parent that is no longer part of the blended family, feeling replaced and therefore causes issues, refusing to let hte kids form relationships with the new spouse. It is such a difficult situation. What could have been a happy thing, turned ugly because of jealousy.

    1. That is presently our struggle. I’m the stepmother and his ex poisons my 4 stepsons against me and their father. It’s so bad right now that the older 2, who are very young teens, refuse to visit their dad because I’m here. The youngest are told they don’t have to eat the food I cook, can trash our home etc. When he tells them that’s not true and they need to behave, they refuse to come visit also. It’s vicious and emotional child abuse. 🙁

      1. The same situation with my step kids mother, she is always telling the kids that what i buy them does not matter and that i am not important so they dont have to listen to me….never ending but you are right emotional child abuse and all because they feel so low about themselves

    2. I agree 100%!!! The ex wife calls & text all hours of the night (drunk) ! It’s never been an emergency about the children! It’s about an argument between her & the child or how much she cares & still loves him! Note: we’ve been married 11 1/2 years! The ex wife has also poisoned his 2 children against me & even now they both are still very distant ( ages 18 & 20) ! It’s very sad that these 2 children missed out on what could have been a great relationship & to think of the uncomfortableness they’ve endured all these years due to their mothers jealousy! ???

      1. I am the mother of three and have two step children. Its been a very hard six year. Lots of drama on and off from my husbands ex and mother of his two children. Its a already messed up situation. Kids live with us full time so we have five children in our home. Husband is the bread winner. I havent worked in 8 months due to a move /relocation for my husbands job. We have been married six years and during this time we have had ups and downs mainly with children. Oldest is ADHD and mood disorder. He is my step son. We have always bumped heads. Except when he needs or wants something. I deal with th doctors and the counseling and parent teacher conferences. I do it all for all five and to top it off my step son is now a teenager and i have to deal with the lieing etc. And deal with my youngest son, who is also adhd and mood disorder and on the autism spectrum. My husband is in denial of any issues with kids and works too much to be in support of what i deal with. My marriage is now falling apart.
        I am the youngest of five from also a blended family and it was nothing like what i have myself into. Jealousy has played a huge roll in our house with kids against kids and husband agaisnt kid.
        His children have learned on and off that i they do NOT have to like me, listen to me and respect me. Seems like the harder i pray the worse things get.

        Just thought i would share.

  12. I did not experience the blended family scenario until my dad and his girlfriend bought a house together when I was 17. It was horrible. Besides the fact that all of us kids were teenagers and just expected to get along my dads girlfriend treated her own daughter much better than us. My dad wasn’t allowed to pay for my school bus pass or give me lunch money anymore but my dads girlfriend would give her daughter money whenever and drove her to work whenever she needed. Her rules were different than ours. (She is a year older than me) My dad apologizes now for not sticking up for his kids but at the time that is what we needed.

  13. I’ve never had any experience with a blended family, and I’m so glad for that. It’s a tough road to say the least. I have the utmost respect for the people out there making it work.

  14. I grew up in a blended family and it was chaos because it wasn’t handled in a good way. The new husband enforced his new ideals and rules that were very different from my mothers. His kids had a lot of behavioral and mental issues that we were suddenly in counseling to learn how to deal with… it was really difficult. I think that adults should realize that just because they are in love doesn’t mean it is a good life choice. If two people want to involve everyone in their decision to be together, they have to take responsibility for being educated about how to respect the issues that will come up in the family. Articles like this are so important to help parents be aware of the issues that need attention and care!!

    1. Jenny~ thank you for your response.. your feelings are that “it wasn’t handled in a good way” are there any suggestions that you would have? I did notice that counseling was provided due to the mental health issues. would you elaborate? Thank you!

  15. Because I went through a divorce when my oldest daughter was only 2, I know all too well the issues that come up when you remarry and have additional children with your new spouse. Nice post!

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