Family Matters- Blended Families

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.


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