Nico Smit

Parents have the power to ensure that the kids know they belong and are loved and wanted – by both parents and their new siblings. Bringing two families together is seldom easy. I have found it a defense mechanism, and the kids soon devise a plan to sabotage the placement.

Making all of the children feel included will help foster a smooth transition. Parenting experts offer the following tips:

Be flexible. Each family has its ways of doing things, and your newly blended family will need to make a lot of compromises – from choosing family activities to establishing bedtimes. Be willing to give up some old habits.

Set new ground rules. Discuss your parenting style with your new spouse and map out a parenting strategy that would be the most appropriate for your new family.

Open the lines of communication. Include the children in family decisions. Please keep an open mind when they are speaking. Listen to them and take their concerns seriously.

Seek creative ways to bond as a family. Have a meeting about what family members would like to do regularly. The ideas that emerge might surprise you.

Keep your sense of humor. The blending of families is a serious and, sometimes, delicate matter, but it helps to reflect on the lighter side of the subject. If things don’t go smoothly at first, be patient. With lots of love, support, and respect, your new family will only get stronger with time. 

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