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Blending Families - Give Children Space

Allowing children to have some space when you blend families can make the transition go faster and smoother for everyone. Let the children develop the relationship with you. You can help by taking an interest in things that are important to them.

We often see step-parents try to set the tone of the relationship by making sure the children understand "who is in charge". Forcing a relationship in this way will always backfire. The children do not have the chance to get to know you and what to expect from you before you start stepping on their toes.

You will earn much more respect and cooperation by setting a few boundaries - (remember firm, but reasonable) - and, as the children get to know you, you can assert more authority.

Children commonly struggle with loyalty issues when a step-parent enters the picture. They worry that by accepting the step-parent they will be betraying the absent parent. If you feel this is happening, reassure your step-children that you will help them find ways to strengthen their relationship with their biological parent.

Offer to take them shopping and help them pick out a nice gift for special occasions.

  • Don't try to "buy" their acceptance. 

  • Don't make them call you mom or dad.

  • Don't become an "authority figure" too soon.

  • Make sure they know you respect them.

  • Never bad mouth their biological parent. Ever!

  • Don't have unrealistic expectations of becoming an instant happy family.

  • Invest time in things that interest your step-children.

Take things slowly and show respect for their feelings. You will build a foundation that will quickly grow into a blended, happy family.




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