Raising a Blended Family? 5 Tips to Help New Siblings Get Along
Ease into New Living Arrangements
New siblings require a period of slow and gradual acclimation before living together full-time. When joining households,
it’s absolutely imperative that parents slowly ease the family into life together. Start small – with dinner, a movie, a hike,
and other short-term activities together. Slowly increase the amount of time spent together at reasonable increments
(i.e. a day, a weekend, a week, etc). When combining families, it’s always best to go slow and stedy to allow the children
adequate time to transition into the new family structure.
When two families finally move in together, there should be a consistent and practical set of rules for all children in the household. When a child’s environment or major familial structure changes, they have the tendency to rebel or push the limits in the new structure. Children, especially new siblings, need guidance, rules and structure to learn how to operate in their new environment.
In a new blended family structure, children need personal space to process their feelings and emotions in a healthy way.
Parents should allocate a personal space for each child so they have a sense of privacy and ownership of space. When children don’t have access to a private space, they tend to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated, which can lead to conflict in the household. By establishing boundaries about individual space and privacy, family members have the opportunity to reflect, think and process their emotions in a constructive way.
At the end of the day, a blended family is still a family. Relationships and connections are often strengthened through family
time and experiences together. It’s important to allocate time every single day for family time, whether it be dinner, game night or going on a walk together. This is a time to build a bond between parents and children or step-children, as well as between
step-children. To make family time fun, find common ground between children or similar interests, or you can try something
completely new to all family members. When together as a group, be sure to acknowledge each child and take time to listen
and interact with them on an individual basis. When each child feels acknowledged they’re more likely to accept the new family structure and to establish bonds with their new siblings and step-parent.
Patience is the most important aspect of this entire journey. Building a family takes time and parents should model patience
and love every step of the way. Give love, but also allow each child time to reciprocate that love. Remember, slow and steady
wins the race. This is a major change for everyone involved, and it takes time and patience to build something beautiful!