“Blended families are so complicated. There is a way to do it right, and four thousand ways to do it wrong.” - Dana Fillmore
What is a blended family?
“Blended family” is a more recent term for a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous marriages.
A blended family can be an enormous gift. When families are blended effectively, both parents and children of all ages become equipped to welcome and even love people who would otherwise be strangers. With patience, empathy, and thoughtfulness your blended family has the potential to thrive.
How should we prepare for our blended family?
Couples should anticipate challenges and prepare to create a supportive environment for each member of the family. Parents should speak to each other, and come up with a joint plan about parenting methods, communication styles, and a course of action for when conflicts arise. Parents should decide together how they will both respond to challenging feelings and questions that will come from their children.
One way to prepare for a successful transition is to seek counseling. A couples counselor for blended families can help you to prepare for the transition, and to solve issues that have come up since blending the two families.
How can couples counseling help my blended family?
Each member of the blended family brings his or her own complex issues to the group dynamic. A therapist with an objective eye can help the couple to untangle the underlying sources of family issues.
Children of any age will experience complicated feelings, such as competition, loyalty to the old family dynamic, grief over the former family, uncertainty about the new family, and instability. Children may be reconciling feelings of loss and pain over their former families, and may feel real grief for their old relationship with their parents prior to the current relationship with the new spouse.
Couples counseling for blended families helps partners to navigate their childrens’ and extended family’s complicated feelings. It gives couples the tools to support each other and their children, as well as to set important family boundaries. Couples will gain the tools to continue to grow supportive, loving relationships with their own children, while also growing their bonds with spouse and step-children.
How do I know if couples counseling for blended families is right for us?
Call or email me for a consultation to how I may be of service to your unique family’s needs. Email [email protected] or call (973) 610- 1972. I look forward to speaking with you!
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