blended family

The challenges of living in a blended family and ideas that will help build relationships

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Guest Blog by Rhianna.

A bit about me and what I do…

Hi everyone, first of all I’d like to say a big thank you to The Swan Effect Mum for allowing me the opportunity to write this guest post for you all. In this post I’m going to be discussing the challenges that can arise when you live in a blended family.

I’ll begin by telling you all a little about myself. I’m Rhianna, mum of two & a trainee social worker. I have an online community called Mama’s Together where I talk about taboo motherhood topics such as dating when you’ve got children & stigmas surrounding unplanned pregnancies.

Blended Family 
Living with a blended family

What is a blended family?

Blended family are extremely common in today’s society, for those of you who don’t know what a blended family is, a blended family is when you and your partner make a life together with the children from one or both of your previous relationships. I have recently entered the blended family club as when I met my current partner, I had already got a 1-year-old son from my previous relationship. I remember feeling so many different emotions when we first met & we have had to overcome so many challenges…in fact we still have quite a few that we face on a daily basis. Some of these include:

Identity Confusion

Because my children are so young (my son is 2 and a half & my daughter is 9 months), I constantly worry about how I am going to explain the dynamics of our family to him as he grows up, my partner loves and raises my son as if he were his own, but it is important to me that I am honest with my children. Trying to find the right balance between my son feeling part of our family and making sure I am honest with him about his birth dad is definitely something I struggle with.

How I have managed this is by buying books for my children & encouraging them to watch Tv programmes/films with blended families in (waffle the wonder dog is a fab one!). I have also written my son a letter explaining the reason he does not have contact with his birth father & I regularly use the NSPCC website, as they have lots of ideas and resources to help you approach difficult conversations with your children.

children, boy, girl

Family challenges with new routine adjustment

As a children and family’s social worker, I know how important consistency is for children, unfortunately this a lot harder to maintain when in a blended family. In this last year my son has had to adapt to me starting a new relationship & the introduction of a new baby, luckily, he adores my partner and him and his sister are inseperable!

My advice for another blended family struggling with this is to maintain routine where you can, for example try to have a night time routine that you always follow such as a bath and story before bed or listening to a particular song in the car on the way to nursery or school, this will really help your child embrace the other big changes that may be going on in your family.

Difference and compromise in disciplining and parenting styles

It’s always just been me & my son, so when my partner came into the equation it really got my back up when he would make any attempt to discipline my son and then when my daughter came along, we faced the challenge of trying to compromise our parenting styles, as I want both of my children to have the same childhood experiences.

My advice for dealing with this is compromise! It’s not easy, by any means but it’s important for your relationship and your children’s sake to make sure you are on the same page, have a discussion about how you would like to parent your children and set boundaries, for example some parents find it easy if their partner does not get involved in disagreements between them and their child, but it is important to make sure these are discussed so that there is no confusion for the child.

You can find more support & advice on a range of different topics via my website: https://mamastogetherorg.wixsite.com/myjourneyblog

blended family
Josue Michel on Unsplash

Other support available if you are part of a blended family..

  1. Action for Children: https://advice.actionforchildren.org.uk/advice/blending-two-families
  2. Family Lives:
  1. Action for Children: https://advice.actionforchildren.org.uk/advice/blending-two-families
  2. Family Lives: https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/your-family/stepfamilies/
  3. Relate: https://www.relate.org.uk/relationship-help/help-family-life-and-parenting/stepfamilies

Want to write a guest post for this site? Get in touch today…

If you would like to write a blog about parenting for the www.theswaneffectmum.com blog then please get in touch with Lynne today: MESSAGE THE SWAN EFFECT MUM HERE

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