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Blended families redefine togetherness in a myriad of ways. Here, experts share tips on how to create a united blended family that includes happy stepparents, stepsiblings, and exes.


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Locate our child care centers, preschools, and schools near you. The idea of family has been expanding, creating new experiences and challenges.

When your remarriage includes children from relationships, blending families can take adjustment. these tips can help you bond with your stepchildren and deal with stepfamily issues.

These tips can help you strengthen the ties within your unique family. The idea of family has expanded in recent years to include step-parents and step-children, foster children, single parents, and extended families living together. This enlarged definition of family can make for a richer, more meaningful experience, as well as provide the nurture and support children need to thrive.

However, family relationships are almost always complicated, and blended families are no exception. We explore ideas for strengthening family ties, particularly in blended families, as defined as "a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all relationships" Merriam Webster. Many of these tips, however, are also appropriate for all families, regardless of circumstance.

As you work together to build family unity, understand that this process takes time and patience. Identify these challenges and look for solutions.

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Talk with your doctor, teachers, or other trusted professionals and seek out resources in your community. Written by: Bright Horizons Education Team.

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Get our weekly newsletter for all things early child development—from the benefits of pretend play to at-home STEM activities, and teaching kindness—along with encouragement for every stage of your parenting journey. When does start to learn about their own identity, and how to define the people around them? From the very beginning. See All Solutions. For Employers. Who We Are. Resources for Employers. Resources for Families. Search Bright Horizons. Find a Center Locate our child care centers, preschools, and schools near you.

Solve the 4 biggest problems blended families face

Log in to Schedule Backup Care. I'm interested in Looking for care center Accessing my benefits Providing benefits to my employees ing the Bright Horizons Team. Most couples spend their initial months or years together building a strong foundation for their relationship.

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In a blended family, with children already a part of your home, you'll need to find creative ways to do this while caring for the children. Schedule time to relax together, as well as weekly meetings to go over schedules, finances, parenting, and any other issues. Be sure to spend time nurturing yourselfas well. Establish house rules. Children need to know that they are safe, that an adult is in charge, and that everything will be okay. Talk to your children about your new and different family structure. Discuss your priorities and goals.

Let your children know that, while you and your partner need time and flexibility to figure everything out, you will figure it out.

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Build trust. The bond between parent and child forms over many years.

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While taking the time to develop these family relationships in your blended family, observe your children and follow their cues. Give children space when they push away, but also actively look for ways to build trust. Attend their concerts, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities. Play board games, read together, or help them with homework. Spend time alone with your own children and encourage your partner to do the same. Solve problems together. Conflict is an inevitable part of family life, but try to remember that it can also serve as a valuable learning experience.

Expect conflicts as children adjust to each other and to sharing their lives. Listen to their challenges and help them find solutions. For example, children sharing a bedroom for the first time are bound to have conflicts over shared space.

Tips for creating a successful blended family

Help them define boundaries and expectations and develop solutions to storage issues. Set a good example.

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Blended families generally go through an adjustment period that can take between two to four years, according to the American Psychological Association. You and your partner play a critical role in guiding your children through this transition.

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Remember, you are the leaders in your home, and your children will follow you. Show patience and self-discipline.

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Speak kindly and communicate fairly. Apologize and make amends when you make mistakes. More on This Topic Find positive co-parenting tips for divorced and separated couples. Learn how you can help your child cope with the big and small changes in life. Use these helpful tips to help navigate a large age gap between children. Get advice or the conversation about these family dynamics: single parentingLGBTtwinsadoptiononly children.

Topics in this article: diverse familieselderly parentsgrandparentsguilt-free parentingmulti-generation care. Bright Horizons Education Team. Related Resources. Sandwich Generation multi-generation care. Learn More. Parenting Strategies brain development in children, How can you help your older loved ones live better?

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Focus on these 5 areas. Elder Care elderly parents, family health.