There is no stopping two people in love. As they move further into the relationship, forming a life together becomes the ultimate dream. But when each of them has their own children, it becomes a complicated story.
The more, the merrier. There’s no reason this phrase couldn’t apply to blended families, even though current statistics do not bode well. Studies suggest only 60 to 73% of blended families make it in America.
By focusing on the simple things, blended families can prove the numbers wrong. Here’s how stepparents can become involved in their kids’ educational and moral development.
Have a Helping Hand
With the pandemic restrictions, blended families who haven’t been fully acquainted with each other were forced to maintain a relationship 24/7. Additionally, travel restrictions for the elderly forced many to move back to their hometowns and create one huge extended family under one roof.
Then work and school became part of the household setting. Full-time jobs already had parents’ plates filled up. With kids and grandparents to take care of from nine to five, the usual workday becomes almost unbearable.
It is okay to need help. For instance, you can avail of hospice care as a home service for your grandparents. Home services are also available for laundry and other duties in a full household. You can focus on assisting all your kids with their online classes. By becoming involved in a child’s education, stepparents can make a mark in their development.
Looking through this perspective, the online class setting can be seen as an opportunity for growth, not an additional parenting task. In early education, involved parents can increase a child’s self-esteem and motivates them toward a positive attitude about school and learning itself.
Blended families can get all the moral help they need from family counseling. Psychiatrists and therapists can help them communicate better and point out problem areas in their relationship.
If Possible, Do Not Cut Familial Ties
Professor William Walsh of the University of Northern Colorado listed four potential problem categories for new stepfamilies. One is the grieving of lost familial relationships. Custody battles are hard enough for the children, and a written court decision formalizes ties that need to be cut.
If there are none, make it a point to leave room for the other biological parent, even if the children don’t see them regularly. Let them attend the kids’ graduation, talent shows, and other school events.
A new home doesn’t have to mean an ultimatum. While it is crucial to establish your new cohabitation as the children’s safe space, keep their choices open.
Always Have Fun
Stage weekly educational events to look forward to, such as scrabble nights. These can be customized according to the children’s common likes and dislikes.
New bonds cannot form overnight. Slowly, but surely, time flies when you’re having fun.
Maintain Some Sense of Hierarchy
Hierarchy is strong in Asian households, but they’re not as big in American homes. In liberated families, some parents even prefer to be called by their first names instead of the usual “mom” or “dad.”
But respect is important in schooling children, and this can only be achieved with some sense of hierarchy. Likewise, parents should understand that while they are looked up to, they should also respect children as people.
Agree on Parenting and Teaching Styles
Due to different upbringing and previous marriage settings, new couples may have conflicting styles in disciplining and schooling their kids. Before imposing them on your partner’s children, make sure to have a talk.
If you’re moving and the kids need to transfer schools, list each of your chosen institutions and discuss which learning environment could make the transition much easier.
Let the Kids Bond
Tensions can arise among the siblings. In fact, this can be one of the most unpredictable problems in a blended family because the parents can’t always control this.
Older children are less susceptible to change. With hormonal changes and social pressures among their peers, teenagers can be rebellious and completely shun their efforts to start a bigger family. Allow them to express frustration. Eventually, the outbursts can become less intense.
You could also schedule group homework sessions after school to help each other with their assignments.
Time heals all wounds, including those that prevent you from forming new bonds. By overcoming change, one issue at a time, blended families can be as strong as any other family. As exceptions to the rule, close blended families prove that blood isn’t always thicker than water.