It is important to recognize the unique challenges for blending families. Awareness of all the issues and potential stresses is an important thing for all marrying couples to have, whether or not a blended family is involved. But this post examines the special considerations that blending families should discuss before marriage – and keep revisiting thereafter.
When families are blended, someone can become a stepparent, father, mother, brother for the first time. These roles can be uncomfortable and awkward at first. That is natural and should be acknowledged.
Parents should discuss important aspects of raising children before marriage and figure out solutions to any disagreements about how the kids should be raised. This should be done carefully, however, because a family will not feel truly blended if one spouse’s biological children have different rules than the other spouse’s kids.
The Family Home
Make sure you carefully plan your living situation when blending families. Some changes for the children are unavoidable and will be challenging. If one of the blending families is opening their home to their new family members it can be challenging to deal with decreased privacy and personal space. Likewise, if only one of the families is moving then those children may be dealing with a new school, neighborhood and community.
Any potential conflicts should be resolved ahead of time, when possible, and worked out quickly as they arise.
Everyone May Get Shorter On Time
Raising children takes a lot of work. When you grow your family overnight your “downtime” may shrink. Many people need regular “me time” to stay happy and healthy while some people like to be around others as much as possible. If you aren’t already living with your spouse, these characteristics may not be apparent. Discuss your needs before blending the families and put a plan in place to ensure they’re met.
Extended families are often overlooked issue when blending families. Even if your blending families immediately feel like a big, happy family from the start, it may still be awkward for grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins to get used to the fact that your family has grown. Discuss this situation beforehand and come up with solutions.
Family dynamics can get especially stressful during the holidays. There is only a finite amount of time to do your family events, but your family – and extended family – just got bigger. Accept that some things will change and discuss this with your extended family members beforehand.
Your financial situation is about to change, but it is important to work out differences ahead of time. You and your soon-to-be-spouse need to make complete financial disclosure to each other, then set a new budget. Money is the number one reason cited for divorce in America, and blended families often have additional financial issues to work out.
Prenuptials or premarital agreements are becoming increasingly popular among couples who have previously married. They may not be romantic but they practical and can be an excellent insurance policy for blending families.
Congratulations on your blended family!