How To Deal With Different Parenting Styles In A Blended Family

How To Deal With Different Parenting Styles In A Blended Family

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How To Deal With Different Parenting Styles In A Blended Family

It’s always a wonderful ending when divorced people find a second chance at love and remarry. It’s even better when they each have children from a previous marriage so that both spouses understand the parenting dynamic.

But does every blended family end with a happily-ever-after the way they do on TV? Not always.

Most blended families face unexpected challenges when bringing two families together into one household to form a new family. In some cases, different parenting styles clash, creating conflict between spouses. How do spouses with different parenting styles work through their differences and any tension it creates with children and stepchildren?

1. Take Time To Adjust to a New Normal

During the early days of romantic love, it’s normal for one or both new spouses to optimistically expect the involved children to be as happy with the situation as they are.

They might anticipate family dinners around the table with everyone sharing about their day, and cozy movie nights passing the popcorn. However, it’s important to be realistic with expectations in a newly blended family.

Children are accustomed to their parent’s rules and attitudes and are not as familiar with the other adult’s parenting methods. The children from both spouses need time to adjust to the presence of others in their home space and to a parent with whom they do not have years of shared history and experiences.

The only thing that can change any awkwardness or discontent due to unfamiliarity is time. It takes time to build relationships and the ability to relax and feel at home in the presence of a new step-parent and step-siblings.

2. Be Clear About Boundaries and Expectations From the Beginning

No matter how much time the families spend together while the spouses are dating, there are bound to be surprises once they begin residing together. For example, one spouse may have clear rules about young children sleeping in their own beds while the other is okay with a child crawling into bed with them during a thunderstorm.

When blended families discover these differences, it’s important to develop a compromise that both parents agree works for them. For instance, determining that a frightened child may come into bed with the adults but must be returned to their room once asleep or once the storm has ended is a fair compromise.

If one family always eats dinner together at the table without screens allowed and the other family enjoys eating in the living room while watching a movie, choose a schedule of alternating meal styles or one family’s way during the week and the other’s on weekends.

3. Develop a Shared Parenting Plan for Major Issues

Parents in a blended family often have different parenting styles. For example, one parent allows their children to have messy rooms and the other insists their children clean up after themselves. Maybe one parent allows video games before homework while the other doesn’t.

The result may be two sets of rules in one household which causes contention when the children see that a step-sibling is allowed to play a video game after school while they have to go straight to homework.

Unequal treatment causes resentment between new stepsiblings. As these major parenting differences emerge, it’s beneficial for the parents to craft a mutually agreeable parenting plan that applies to all of the children in the home. This means that the children have to learn about compromises as well.

4. Don’t Make Too Many Changes at Once

It’s always beneficial to wait a few years after a divorce to remarry. Otherwise, children may feel overwhelmed by too many changes at once.

In addition, once divorced parents remarry and begin a blended family, it’s best to let each child’s biological parent be the lead in disciplining their own children for at least a year.

Jumping into this aspect of parenting requires trust on both sides which must be earned over time. Similarly, don’t expect instant affection between stepparents and stepchildren or between step-siblings. Relationships take time to grow and cannot be forced.

Over time, affection and love develop and one day your blended family will simply be a family, but it takes time and patience to get there.

Contact Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. For Family Law Assistance

If you are facing difficulties with blended families, get in touch with a Denver family law lawyer from Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. today. We are here to help you any way that we can.