If you or your children are struggling with a new family situation, you are not alone. Both children and adults typically struggle with the adjustments that a blended family can bring. What is a blended family? Any living situation in which a new family comes together that did not live together before. This can be a re-marriage, a new boyfriend/girlfriend, and/or step children.
The changes can be hard for everyone. For some family members this means living in a new home, with new people. Adults often struggle to find their new role with their partner and with children- either their own or their partner’s. Children are often grieving the loss of living with both parents and at the same time trying to figure out how to adjust to a new adult in the home. As the stress level rises for everyone, often arguments emerge and sometimes each member of the family isolates just a bit from the others. Kids are at a high risk in these situations for developing depression and/or anxiety.
The good news is that there are several things that can be done to assist everyone in this new family constellation. Family therapy can help to give everyone a voice and set a new tone for the household. Individual therapy, especially for the children can help them to process through their losses and find a way to accept the changes in their lives. Lastly, working with a therapist on parenting techniques specific to blended families can set up a new pattern for successful interactions in the home.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t wait. Get help early so a healthy pattern of relating can develop quickly, before there has been too much tension and stress in the household. Find a therapist who has experience with blended families.