Do you and your new partner have children from prior relationships and are now considering blending your families? Watching your loved ones come together as a family is truly beautiful, but you may encounter some stresses and frustrations along the road as you try to make it happen. You may feel concerned about whether everyone will get along or if your children will feel unsettled by the idea. Read on to discover our tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.
1. Remember that it doesn’t happen overnight.
Set reasonable expectations. Two families don’t come together as one big happy family in the blink of an eye. If you expect everything to be perfect from day one, you’re sure to be disappointed. Emotionally prepare yourself for some rockiness so that you can face it with positivity and openness.
2. Discuss parenting styles beforehand.
People tend to have very different parenting styles. Even if you believe that you and your new partner have very similar parenting styles, you should discuss this in advance. Address things like curfew, discipline, mealtimes, academics, spending money, and even bedtime routines. Talk about how you will discuss the big changes with your children. The deeper your understanding of your partner’s parenting style, and vice-versa, before blending households, the more equipped you will be to handle each others’ differences.
3. Fairness is key!
Make sure your children and step-children are all treated fairly. Surprisingly, it can be tempting to overcompensate by favoring your stepchildren over your biological children because you are so concerned about them feeling left out or less loved. This doesn’t help! Treat all of the children equally and fairly.
4. Respect is not negotiable.
Your stepchildren might not like you. Your children might not like their stepsiblings. But you must make it clear that there is a difference between liking someone and treating him or her with respect. You cannot force anyone to like anyone else — and often affection is something that takes time to develop — but respect should be a requirement.
5. Contact an attorney if you are considering stepparent adoption.
Stepparent adoption can be the icing on the cake of a successfully blended family. If you are considering this path, you will need the help of a lawyer with experience in this type of adoption. At OMG Law Firm, we work hard to make sure these adoptions progress swiftly when the other biological parent consents. Even if they do not consent, we can advise you on how to move the process forward anyway. To get started, contact OMG Law Firm at (870) 330-7324.