Blended Families/Combined Families/New Families
Stepfamilies, also called blended families, include children from one or both parents’ first households. Often, stepfamilies experience stress as they attempt to restructure and redefine a new family unit. It is important to realize that it takes time for people to establish trust, love and mutual understanding.
Bringing two separate families together can be difficult. Rules and boundaries change. Expectations need to be realistic, for both the adults and the children.
Children often feel a lot of turmoil as they go from one home to another. A child can feel like a “traitor.” They may become resentful of their new situation and the blended family begins to suffer. Sometimes children rebel and try to do everything possible to break up the new marriage.
Children may blame one parent for the breakup of the original marriage, or believe that the parent who remarried did not put them first and did not care enough about them.
Parenting stepchildren may seem an impossible task, particularly when a child shows signs of unhappiness with the new blended family. Some symptoms children display are:
- Competitive behavior
- Trouble in school
- Not wanting to engage in a home life with the family
- Anger toward the parent who remarried
Stepfamilies can look chaotic and feel unmanageable. Parents may begin to resent the stepchildren and each may wonder if they made the right decision, if the effort was worth it.
An Experienced Therapist Can Help You and Your Family
A therapist can help your family understand some of the feelings that have surfaced for each family member and guide you in developing new ways of communicating and behaving. We can explore rules and expectations and develop realistic goals and boundaries.
Finding ways to begin to build history with their newly combined family will contribute to the blended family’s perception of itself as a unit and increase children’s awareness of their roles within the new family.
Working with a trained therapist, can help you build trust, love, support and understanding and establish relationships that will work for your new family. Parents can learn about the needs of each other’s children along with gaining an understanding of the emotional needs of their own children.
Therapy can help the family function as a new developing unit, which may involve full family treatment or couples counseling and/or intervention for the children.
Contact CPS Today – Arrange an Appointment
Call Community Psychological Services at (818) 907-7974 to arrange an appointment with an experienced therapist. Our Encino office is conveniently located on Ventura Blvd. Parking is available at our location.