Counselling For Blended Families – A “blended family” is one in which two parents, with one or both parties already having had children through previous relationships, marry. This creates a bonus family of sorts, involving the sometimes-complicated relationships between stepparents and stepchildren, and even between and amongst the stepchildren themselves. Although this process is ultimately intended to be a happy one, there are often a lot of difficult emotions involved on all sides, which can complicate the potential for positive relationships if not properly addressed. Because many times the creation of a blended family follows the dissolution of two separate relationships, there can often be negative emotions and experiences that individuals bring with them that affects the new relationship—even without meaning to. At Horizon Plymouth, we are experienced in helping to guide this transition and fostering healthy expression of feelings and relationship development during this time.
Promoting positive outcomes in a blended family
Setting out to take steps that will foster love, trust, kindness, and respect from the very beginning of the new family union requires intentionality and careful consideration but doing so can help to set up all parties for success. Working with a counsellor is one of the best ways to ease this transition, but there are several things that you can do on your own to promote positive outcomes.
- Establish and respect boundaries: Despite being a new family, every individual is likely to have certain boundaries that they need for their own space and emotional healing. Communicating these boundaries and respecting the ones that are expressed in turn will foster respect while allowing all members the space that they need to adjust to the new norms and expectations.
- Step back from gut-reactions: Because nearly everyone in the new family is likely to be experiencing a complex array of emotions, if someone reacts negatively towards something that you say or do, it can be beneficial to take a step back before responding to remind yourself that it is likely not personal. Responding with kindness and understanding will likely get you much farther.
- Consider the children: For new stepparents, the wellbeing of the children is paramount. As you are establishing your relationship with your new spouse, it is important to consider the feelings of the children who are entering this new relationship as well. Children don’t have as mature of emotions as adults and will often need help understanding and exploring their feelings regarding this new family dynamic. Making communicating with them a priority can help to ensure that they adapt and grow in beneficial ways within the new dynamics.
If you or someone you know is beginning the process of creating a blended family and could use some guidance during the process to promote successful outcomes, reach out to the expert counsellors at Horizon Plymouth today. Our team can help all parties to explore their complicated feelings in a healthy and productive manner, fostering mutual trust and respect within your newly created family. We can also help in instances where a blended family has been experiencing issues for a prolonged time, as counselling provides a safe space for grievances to be aired and the deeper feelings behind them explored. Leaving behind the often-negative emotions associated with the ending of a past relationship in order to build a healthy, supportive new relationship can be an incredibly difficult process for everyone involved, but luckily you don’t have to go through this process alone. If you are seeking help—be it preventative or as a result of already existing issue—reach out to Horizon Plymouth today to start fostering healing, trust, respect, and emotional growth within your new family.