In every school, in every class, we see children living in blended families. With the high divorce rate, it is inevitable that children live with a biological parent and the parent’s new partner.
Joining two parents and their respective children is bound to create challenges. Each parent has a unique parenting style. Each family has its own routines. In a new family group, the children are likely to feel stress. Conflicts will arise between their biological parents, their new parent and the step-siblings.
To ease some of these difficulties, it is smart to see a psychotherapist before everyone is under one roof.
Family therapy is an effective way for a blended family to work through their issues. The family will mostly meet in group sessions. There likely will be individual sessions for each child and one or both parents.
You can expect your psychotherapist to follow the family systems therapy approach. This type of therapy views the family as an integral system, and each member is affected by that system. If a family member has a problem, it’s an indication that the family unit is not functioning properly.
Research shows that a family can take up to five years to make a successful transition. The first years will be the hardest, as children settle into the new relationships. Young adolescents, who are forming their own identities tend to have a more difficult time.
To help ensure a smooth transition, parents who are planning to remarry or cohabitate with children should consider preparing the family in advance. They can talk with their children to get their views on how to make the transition work best.
The children will more easily accept stepparents who start out in a friend role — or as a sort of “camp counselor” — compared to a disciplinarian. Also, stepparents must be sensitive to their stepchildren’s comfort zone regarding displays of affection or feelings of abandonment.
In family therapy, the blended family will work through the issues that each member brings to the new family. Parents and children can figure out their new roles and set boundaries regarding parenting, discipline, and other aspects of family life.
Children can voice their individual fears and develop a better understanding of their place in the family unit. They can get reassurance of their parents’ love and affection — as the parents build their own loving bond with their spouse and the stepchildren.
To find out more about Blended Families Services, contact Leslie Terner’s office located at 5480 Wisconsin Avenue Suite LL8 Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815. Leslie Terner provides Blended Family counseling in Chevy Chase, MD and its surrounding areas.
Book an appointment by calling 301-718-1758
5480 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Fri and Sun: Closed
I am a Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist in Chevy Chase, Maryland. I have been in private practice since 1999. I help clients to heal and gain insight into why they have developed their behaviors.