If you’ve found yourself as part of a blended family, then you know that it can be incredibly rewarding. You found a new partner in life, but you also get to share that life with their kids and vice versa.
Blended families can be a huge blessing. Unfortunately, it can also be challenging to adjust to a new stepfamily, for both the adults and the kids. If you’ve spent most of 2019 adjusting to a new family, you should give yourself credit for all of the effort and advances that have been made in your family dynamic.
As a new year approaches, however, it’s essential to take time to reflect on the year and level up in the new one.
1. Learn from Past Mistakes
An excellent way to level up is to take past mistakes in stride. Consider the moments that caused the most tension. Of course, it’s not always pleasant to look back on, but even the worst moments can serve as a lesson learned.
Was there a massive conflict between your child and stepchild? Did you and your partner have a significant disagreement over a parenting issue?
No matter what the situation was, it’s essential to be self-aware and recognize where things didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped. Again, take the mistakes in stride-they’re worthwhile lessons!
2. Look Forward to the Future
It’s essential to be mindful of the past while continually looking towards the future. Kids are ever-changing and constantly growing. As a result, you must be aware of the behavioral changes that you might experience.
If you have two children who are close in age, this is likely going to cause more conflict than two kids with a decade between them. Instead of anticipating the worst, keep in mind that conflict is inevitable-especially for individuals who spent their formative years in different living situations.
Be mindful of differences, and try not to get too frustrated about future fights and arguments. Look forward to the future-arguments and all.
3. Spend More Time Together as a Family
When it comes to blended families, it can often be hard to get everyone together at once. In the new year, consider making an effort towards having a weekly family game night, movie night, etc.
Try to recognize each child’s likes and interests. Every week, someone can pick a movie to their liking. Or, they can choose what the meal will be for a family dinner.
Simple things such as this can enable everyone to spend time together and feel included in the decision-making.
4. Have More Honest Conversations
Often, the biggest issue that blended families face is a lack of communication. When stepfamilies move in together, there’s a blend of different personalities, likes, dislikes, and ways of doing things.
Maybe you’ve always sat down for a family meal, whereas that’s not how things were done in your partner’s household. Whatever the issue, it’s essential to open the door for communication and allow everyone to feel heard and respected.
There’s bound to be a compromise that everyone can agree upon. All too often, however, kids feel inclined to bottle their emotions to appease the situation. Encourage your kids to communicate openly.
5. Embrace the Sweet Moments
It’s essential to be grateful for your new family. You’re fortunate to have found love, and that you have the opportunity to share a life with an entirely new family.
You can build new memories with this blended family, form new relationships, and experience genuinely sweet moments. It’s truly a blessing to be able to expand your family into a new one. More than anything, make an effort to embrace gratitude in the new year.
Lastly, if your family is having trouble getting along, don’t hesitate to seek out family counseling. Not only can it appease specific issues, but it can make your blended family unit stronger than ever.