If you live in a blended family, you know that drama and conflict can be a regular part of the day. It takes patience and wisdom to help create a healthy and loving atmosphere in this type of family mashup. If you’re wondering how to defuse dissension and help create calm in your blended family, check out these tips.
Tips for Creating a Healthy Atmosphere in a Blended Family
Don’t Take Sides
To keep life smooth and friendly in a blended family, it’s important for parents to remember not to take sides. When conflict arises between two step-siblings, don’t choose one child (usually your birth child) over the other. Refuse to play that game, even if the kids try to bait you to it. This will save you headaches and heartaches.
It’s Only “Ours”
In a blended family — especially early on — it’s common for everyone to think along the lines or “ours” and “theirs.” When you refer to your step-children, you will need to break the habit of saying “his,” “her” or “your” kids. You will also need to remind the kids to not do the same if they are older.
Once the family has joined through marriage, the house, the car, the belongings, and the family is no longer “yours” and not “theirs” — it is all simply “ours.” Establish the habit from the beginning of referring to “our children” and “our family” and so on. As a blended family it’s very important to remember that you’re all in this together.
Parents Are a United Front
Parents have to be on the same page at all times in a blended family. It’s very important for Mom and Dad to communicate regularly about every issue that the family faces — from the laundry schedule to the bathroom schedule to the chore responsibilities and more. Mom and Dad have to be a united front.
It’s not helpful for one child to go to one parent to ask permission for something only to be told no, then turn around and ask the other parent and be told yes. Mom and Dad need to make sure they are both in the know with what is going on in the household.
Treat Everyone Equally
It’s important to treat everyone equally in a blended family. Depending upon the schedules, there may be times when all of the kids are not in the home at the same time. It is very important to stay consistent and treat everyone the same. Every child should have chores and responsibilities when they are in the home (even if they are only there on weekends), and every child should be expected to accord the same respect to all other members of the family.
If you allow one child to do something, all others should also be allowed if it is age appropriate. Don’t treat one child better because they are your birth child and you will cut back on conflict from the get go.
Blended families can be tough, but with plenty of love and patience, they are worth the effort.
Do you have any other tips for creating a healthy atmosphere in a blended family? Share them in the comments.