According to a study published by the National Parents Organization in 2014, roughly 1/3 of Americans are part of a blended family. While blended families are more prevalent than ever, there are still challenges. This is especially true when one or both parents bring teenagers into their new marriage.
Give things time
When you and your new partner bring children into your new marriage, many relationship dynamics are at play. Not only are you getting to know one another’s children, but the children are getting to know each other. Give things time to progress, as most new friendships don’t happen instantaneously.
Finding ways to bond
When children become teenagers, they often have a good idea of things that interest them and those that don’t. Look for interests that you share with your partner’s teens. Creating a mutual bond over a shared interest is a simple way to plant the seeds of a lasting relationship.
Getting on the same page
Family law advisors agree that both parents being on the same page is one of the foundational principles of a healthy home life for children of any age. When you and your partner become more involved in the lives of one another’s children, have conversations about what each of your children needs from each of you. Being on the same page allows you to create a stable environment for each of your children.
Expect emotional outbursts
Teenagers are naturally emotional beings when dealing with hormonal fluctuations. The process of their parents divorcing and moving on with new partners often amplifies those emotions. While you certainly don’t have to subject yourself to disrespect or abuse, you should expect some emotional outbursts from teenagers in your new blended family.
Blending a family with teenagers rarely happens quickly. Be patient with your partner, their teens, your teens and yourself as you create a new family.