A Blended Family: The Do’s and
By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman
Are you contemplating blending two families together?
Are you planning on marrying someone with children?
If so, check out the ideas below. They just may
help you create a more satisfying and nurturing
Do’s and Don’ts for Blended Families
Do start talking with your children about the
possibility of blending your family, early. LONG
before your marriage, begin the dialogue about
the future family life. Mix in lots of listening
so that all the children feel heard.
Don’t push your children into creating
relationships. Allow those relationships to evolve
slowly and naturally over time. Give your children
the time, space and flexibility to adjust to
the new situation.
Do establish new traditions. Some current traditions
and rituals you will want to maintain. Others
you will need to create around the new family
setting. Look for uniqueness in your new blended
family and build a tradition around that.
Don’t expect your stepchildren to call
you mom or dad. Let the stepchildren decide what
they want to call you. Their comfort level is
important here. If they don’t naturally
settle on a name, meet with them to mutually
establish a name that you are comfortable being
Do establish a unified parenting approach that
is evenly applied to all in the family. Reach
agreement with your new partner on how to address
the important parenting situations that present
themselves. Correct behavior from a position
of, “This is how we do it in our family.”
Don’t focus exclusively on the family and
neglect strengthening your marriage. Raising
children is a challenge. Raising other people’s
children is a special challenge. Having a strong
marriage will help you manage the challenge of
blending your families together.
Do spend some time alone with each child and
stepchild. Set aside time each day to connect
one-on-one with all the children in your new
family. This will help them establish a sense
of belonging that enhances their connection to
Do hold family meetings. This gives all members
of the family a chance to express their opinions
and have input into the rules, schedule, and
planning of upcoming events. Family meetings
provide opportunities for family members to vent
as well as express appreciation.
Don’t attempt to do it alone. Seek support
from a local community organization or family
therapist professional. For more information
on blended families, please consult one of the
organizations listed in the sidebar.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are authors of
numerous books on parenting and relationships.
Visit their individual websites at www.chickmoorman.com and www.thomashaller.com.