Blended families come in all shapes and sizes. Each one is unique, but they all have one thing in common: shared children. It is the best interests of these children that should take precedence in all that the families say and do. One family is setting the example by showing up to soccer games in customized, blended family jerseys. How are they making it work, and how can you adapt their style to fit your family? The following explains.
Remember to Be Mindful of the Child’s Comfort Level
Although a new relationship may be the last thing on the mind of some divorcing couples, others have been working on their transition for years. As such, they may already be romantically involved with someone else. Unfortunately, children can find these new relationships jarring, painful, or even traumatizing. The effect is heightened if they have not yet had the chance to adjust to the divorce. So, regardless of where parents are at in their new relationships, it is crucial that they stay mindful of their child’s comfort level.
One thing parents can do is introduce romantic partners into the child’s life slowly. Some children may view these new relationships as the reason their parents split up, which can cause hostility toward the parent or romantic partner. Others may pull away from the parent because they feel their sadness and grief are misplaced. A little mindfulness can go a long way in dealing with these commonly experienced issues. Go at your child’s pace, and remember always to respect that their other parent is important and still loved by your child.
Be Patient as Your Family Adjusts to New members
As a rule of thumb, experts say it take up to two years to establish new family members as an actual family to the child. Of course, that does not mean that the new family member does not form an attachment with the child before then; it only means that it could take that long for a child to see them as a parental figure in their lives. It is also important to note that, with older children, the transition from a parent’s romantic partner to parental figure may never happen. That is okay! The goal is not to manufacture a familial bond. Instead, it is to embrace what is and see each new family member as an important part of your child’s support system.
Be Respectful of Both Old and New Relationships
Of all the difficulties that blended families experience, remembering to be respectful of both the old relationship (the dissolved marriage) and the new one is probably the most challenging. On the one hand, the strife is understandable; you may still be struggling to even cope with your ex-spouse, let alone a new partner. However, the other hand must remind you that your child’s needs and best interests trump your discomfort. No matter how difficult things are, it is worth the effort to work through your issues with one another. If necessary, consider blended family counseling to help you overcome the initial obstacles.
Creating a More Comprehensive Parenting Plan
As families grow and change, parenting plans may need to be revised. For some, this occurs before the divorce. For others, it may come long after. Whatever your situation, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Dedicated to your child’s best interests and backed by over 200 years of combined experience, our DuPage County family law attorneys can help you develop creative solutions that will hopefully satisfy all involved parties. Learn more about how we can help with your case by scheduling a free consultation. Call 630-932-9100 today.
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