Stepfamilies are not the same as a conventional family. The dynamics are different as you put those that are virtual strangers in close familial contact with each other.
The transition can be difficult and you are bound to hit a few rough spots along the way to family harmony.
We have some tips to help with the blending of your new family.
Not Everyone is Expected to Like Each Other
You are living in a fantasy world if you think that your new family will automatically love and cherish one another.
Stepchildren may come into the new family with a slew of resentments against the biological parent as well as the stepparent and other children.
How well everyone gets along depends upon the patience and perseverance of the whole family. Have realistic expectations and allow affection to grow naturally without force. Don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t happen right away or ever.
The Biological Parent should Handle Discipline in the Beginning
The stepparent shouldn’t be the one to discipline their partner’s children in the first years together. It is said that at least two years must pass before the stepparent can effectively discipline their mate’s children.
In order for children to accept the rules and regulations of someone other than their biological parent the stepparent has to earn credibility and the trust of the children.
This can only be achieved with time. If the stepparent tries to take over discipline too soon, they will more than likely be met with resentment and hostility.
Take Cues from the Stepchildren
Though you may want to be one big happy family, children are very loyal to their biological parents and feeling affection for a stepparent may make them feel as if they are being disloyal.
Always give stepchildren their space and let them give you cues as to how they want to proceed. Try being a friend first and an authority figure later. Don’t push yourself on them as this will often cause them to retreat from you further.
Stepfamilies are more prevalent today than they were in the past and forging successful stepfamily relationships doesn’t have to be difficult.
If everyone gives the respect that all members of the family are due, shouting and anger doesn’t have to be part of your family life. Allow time for children to adjust to the new family and let them know that you are always available to let them air their grievances.