Blended families are the norm these days, as an increasing number of people get remarried with children. Joining families can pose a number of challenges as parents adjust to new children and as children adjust to new parents and siblings. Divorce attorneys in Las Vegas advise that getting it right is important, as an unsettled family life can give former spouses cause for concern that may result in legal action.
The vast majority of divorced people eventually remarry, and more than 65 percent of remarriages involve children from previous marriages, according to Winning Stepfamilies, an advocacy group dedicated to helping stepfamilies succeed. Nearly a quarter of all children live in blended families.
Even in the most thoughtful and deliberate merging of families, there are bound to be some issues as children deal with their feelings from the divorce and their feelings about adjusting to a new parental figure and siblings. Even the adults may struggle as they seek to build relationships with children who may blame them for their parents’ divorce or feel threatened by the new living arrangement.
For blended families trying to make the situation work, consider these tips to minimize conflicts and to foster healthy relationships:
- Don’t expect things to be perfect overnight – Blended families have to take time to get used to each member’s quirks and preferences. This takes time, and there will likely be some blow-ups along the way. Be patient and keep moving steadily forward.
- Invest time – If you’re a new stepparent, get some one-on-one time with your new stepchildren. Take them somewhere they enjoy, or find a hobby or activity you can share together. By establishing mutual interests and enthusiasms, you can build a stronger relationship with your stepchildren.
- Give space – Don’t expect the whole blended family to hang together all the time. Allow the sub-family units (parent and child, sibling and sibling) to spend a little time among themselves now and again. It’ll help reduce friction among the various components of your family.
- Insist on respect – Parents need to be flexible when blending families, but one thing that’s an absolute is respect. Each member of the family needs to speak civilly with one another, respect one another’s property, and respect one another’s personal space.
- Choose your battles – Not everything is going to be the way you want it. Get used to it. Allow small things to pass and save your energy for the big battles – things involving respect for other family members and safety.
Lead by example – Teach your kids the need for compromise and respecting the viewpoints of others by doing it yourself. Give a little leeway to your stepchildren to make their own choices, and also be willing to discuss rules, chores, and schedules with them. Don’t be a pushover, but do be reasonable.
The McFarling Law Group offers Nevada residents caring and experienced representation in divorce and family law cases. Emily McFarling is an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney who is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and a recipient of the Pre-eminent AV Rating. To schedule a consultation, call 702-565-4335.