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Blended Family Issues

A Blended Family refers to the family unit that is created when two separate families come together to form one family.  This typically occurs when two people with their own children get married and move in together, blending their separate children into a single family unit.

Issues

  • Differing or conflicting parenting styles: One parent may be very responsive to a child’s needs while another expects the child to be more independent.
  • Differing disciplinary styles: One parent may seem to be incapable of saying “no” to a child while another expects children to adhere to a more authoritarian style of discipline.
  • Sibling Rivalry: When an only child suddenly finds themselves living in a house with multiple siblings they can feel like they have to compete for attention from both parents.
  • Step Parenting: Many step parents struggle to discipline and interact with their spouse’s children on a day to day basis, creating stress and attachment failures.

Causes

A blended family is typically the product of a divorce.  After being involved in a divorce, children may already be struggling.  Adding step parents and siblings to the picture may alleviate or agitate that stress.  Death in a family is also a traumatic experience that can result in the formation of a blended family.  In this case, parents as well as children are struggling to navigate the stresses of life without a loved one.

Treatment

It is important to find ways to bond with your new family members in order to foster secure attachments.  Everyone in a family wants to feel equal and loved.  Family therapists are trained in using activities and exercises that will ensure everyone is appreciated and heard.  Therapists can also work with the parents as a couple to help arrange cooperative parenting styles that integrate both parenting approaches.  Therapy on an individual level can also benefit members of the family if other issues are suspected.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists furnish a supportive environment, providing healthy outlooks and understanding.

 
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