Parental Tips

How to Make Things Work as a Blended Family

Whether you’re just starting to think about dating again after a split or have already met someone special, wondering how to thrive as a blended family (now or in the future) may be on your mind. You’re in the right place. We’re going to talk about the common challenges of merging families along with the benefits and tips to make things work. First, though, we’ll start by taking a look at the blended family definition. Let’s get started.


What is a Blended Family?

advantages of a blended family

Ground Picture/

Blended families are where two partners come together, both of whom bring a child or children from previous relationships. Also known as a stepfamily, blended families are becoming more common and take many forms. For example, the two sets of kids may be the same age, or there could be a significant age gap; they may have similar interests and personalities—or maybe not! The new partners may have a child together, as well as kids from a former relationship.

So while the definition of a blended family is pretty straightforward, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each facing their own challenges and bringing their own unique joys.

The Challenges of a Blended Family

blended family definition


Combining families comes with challenges. Some of the most commonplace issues that are likely to occur include the following.

Conflicts Between Kids

While all siblings quarrel, you may face more difficult conflicts between kids when you blend families. This is totally normal and happens for a variety of reasons. Children may be struggling to process their emotions around the new living situation or feel as if they are now competing for your attention with the other kids they’re now sharing their home with. Plus, of course, you could be dealing with a large age gap or some very different personality types. It’s no surprise that all of this can combine to create conflict.

Maintaining an awareness of kids’ perspectives can help, and it’s important to be consistent in terms of discipline and expectations. Have shared family rules that apply to everyone to avoid issues developing. Ensuring children have their own space, too, is essential, especially if they were formerly an only child—try not to force kids to spend all their time together in an effort to bond. Provide time and positive attention to each child separately. This is an important way of making sure every kid in the new blended family feels loved, welcomed, and safe.

Problems Forming Family Bonds

blended families


You’ve blended families but you’re still struggling to feel like a cohesive unit. It’s like you’re two separate families whose members happen to share a house. This is a really common issue and usually, one that just needs time. Trying to force a family bond is likely to backfire, and could cause resentments to develop. It’s important to recognize that kids need time to grieve for the loss of the original relationship, and their old life, in order to be in a better position to accept the new situation.

It’s a good idea to slowly introduce some new family traditions to help bonds begin to form. This could be as simple as heading to the park for a walk after lunch every Sunday or watching a movie together at home with plenty of popcorn and snacks on Saturday evenings.

Kids Not Getting on with Their New Step-Parent

You love your new partner to the moon and back, meaning it can be both upsetting and disappointing if your kids don’t share the same sentiment. It’s normal, however, for kids to feel some level of resentment or hostility towards their step-parent in a blended family, especially in the early days. As with the other challenges above, taking things slowly and not trying to rush or force bonding is key.

It’s also vital to really listen to your child. Try to get to the bottom of their feelings about your partner and come up with solutions that could help. As mentioned above, consistency will play a part in this: if your partner becomes the primary disciplinarian, for example, this will likely cause problems.

Establishing Parental Roles

mixed family


One of the significant hurdles in a blended family is defining and accepting new parental roles. The introduction of a stepparent can be unsettling for children who might feel loyalty to their biological parent. This situation can lead to resistance, especially if the new stepparent tries to enforce rules or discipline.

Open communication is key to addressing this challenge. The biological parent should take the lead in discipline initially, allowing the stepparent to build a relationship based on trust and respect first. Over time, as bonds strengthen, the stepparent can gradually take on more of a disciplinary role. It’s also essential to have regular family meetings to discuss rules, expectations, and any issues that arise.

Dealing with External Influences

Blended families often face external influences, such as opinions from extended family members or interference from ex-spouses. These external factors can complicate the family dynamics and add stress to the new family unit.

Setting clear boundaries with extended family and maintaining respectful and open communication with ex-spouses can mitigate these issues. It’s important to focus on what is best for the children and work towards creating a cooperative and supportive environment for them.

Maintaining Marital Health

In the midst of managing the complexities of a blended family, it’s easy for the marital relationship to take a backseat. However, the strength of the parental relationship is crucial for the stability of the entire family.

Regularly setting aside time for each other, maintaining open and honest communication, and seeking support when needed can help keep the marital relationship strong. A healthy, supportive partnership sets a positive example for the children and provides a solid foundation for the blended family.

Benefits of Blended Families

blended family

Davor Geber/

It may come with challenges, but blending families offers many benefits and advantages—for the adults and the kids. Here are some examples.

Extended Support Network

Your new blended family means more people are on hand to support each other and relate to. Whether this is additional moral support from your partner, or your child having a new step-sibling to chat with about their day at school, combining families can create a network of support for each member.

Greater Financial Security

While this may not have been at the front of your mind when you decided to remarry or form a new long-term relationship, it’s undeniable that a blended family, combining the income and financial resources of two adults, can make for greater financial security. As well as easing stress, this could mean your family’s day-to-day life is happier, and you can enjoy doing things, together, you may not have been able to as a single parent.

Happy Parents, Happy Kids

A healthy, happy marriage or partnership in which both parties are satisfied, respectful of each other, and working hard to make the new mixed family a success creates a great example for kids. Having the additional support of a loving, caring partner can profoundly ease stress and make life more fulfilled and enjoyable—meaning you’ll be in a better place to create a peaceful, nurturing, and happy environment for the kids.

Age Groups and How They Adjust to Blended Families

what is a blended family – Yuri A/

Adjusting to a blended family can be challenging for children, and their age plays a significant role in how they cope with these changes. Here’s a look at how different age groups typically adjust to blended family dynamics.

Toddlers and Preschoolers (Ages 2–5)

Young children in this age group may have an easier time adjusting to a blended family because they are more adaptable and less aware of the complexities involved. However, they might still experience confusion and anxiety due to changes in their routine and environment.

To help toddlers and preschoolers adjust, maintain consistent routines and provide plenty of reassurance and affection. Be patient and give them time to bond with new family members at their own pace.

School-Age Children (Ages 6–12)

blended family issues


School-age children may have a harder time adjusting to a blended family. They are more aware of the changes and might feel loyalty conflicts between their biological and stepparents. They may also struggle with sharing their parent’s attention with new siblings.

To support school-age children, communicate openly about their feelings and reassure them that it’s okay to have mixed emotions. Encourage family activities that foster bonding and make sure they have personal space and one-on-one time with their biological parent.

Teenagers (Ages 13–18)

Teenagers often face the most significant challenges when adjusting to a blended family. They are at a stage where they seek independence and may resent the new family structure, viewing it as an intrusion. Teenagers might also be more vocal about their feelings and resistant to changes.

Helping teenagers adjust involves respecting their need for independence while maintaining open lines of communication. Be supportive and understanding of their feelings, and involve them in family decisions when appropriate. It’s also crucial to establish and respect boundaries to help them feel secure.

Young Adults (Ages 19 and Up)

Young adults might not be living at home but can still be affected by the blending of families. They may feel loyalty conflicts or worry about their place in the family. The transition can be easier for them as they are more mature, but they still need reassurance and inclusion.

To help young adults adjust, keep them informed about family changes and involve them in family gatherings. Show appreciation for their feelings and ensure they know they are still an essential part of the family.

Planning Your Blended Family. How Soon Is Too Soon to Blend Families?

blending families


Along with patience and persistence, pacing is the key to successfully blending families. Many experts suggest blended families have the best chance of success if the couple waits at least two years after a separation or divorce to remarry or otherwise combine families. This gives children time to grieve and come to terms with the ending of the former relationship, before asking them to get used to another major familial upheaval.

Here are some steps to take to plan your blended family and help it thrive:

  1. Smooth the transition to a blended family by deciding on parenting styles and strategies before the family moves in together. This will allow you to make any adjustments to your parenting style in good time.
  2. Hold regular family meetings, where everyone feels able to raise issues or otherwise contribute. Ask kids for suggested solutions, and incorporate these where possible.
  3. Plan regular family time, doing an activity together that everyone enjoys.
  4. Insist on respect—even where affection hasn’t yet developed, it’s important that every member of the blended family treat one another with respect.
  5. Set a slow pace and be prepared that it can take some time for bonds to develop. In the early days especially you may find yourself expending a lot of energy, time, and care on your stepkids with little by way of return. However difficult this may be, remember that it’s laying important groundwork for the future.

Tips and Recommendations for a New Blended Family

step family

Davor Geber/

So you’re about to blend families and are looking forward to your new life, and feeling optimistic about the future. This may be a chaotic time as everyone adjusts to the new home environment, but there are plenty of things you can do to ease the transition.

Create a Plan

With your partner, create a plan that includes the timeline for the transition. Talk to your children as part of this process, so that they know in advance what is going to happen, and when. Think about exactly how the transition will work. Will it happen in stages, or all at once? If you’ll be moving to a new area, and the kids are going to a new school, allow plenty of time for children to get used to this idea and be sure to plan, if possible, visits to the new neighborhood and school, so kids can better visualize what their life will look like.

Give Everyone Space

If you’ll be moving into a new home, plan out before moving day who will be having which room, being sure to give kids their own space where possible. If your partner and their child or children will be moving in with you, it may be best to empty out all bedrooms and wardrobes, drawers, closets, etc, and start from scratch dividing up the space. While your kids may find this difficult, it’s the best way to ensure everyone starts on a level playing field.

Try to make the process fun, if you can—could it be an opportunity for kids to choose new decor for their rooms, for example? A painting party could be a good activity for your newly blended family!

Think about Discipline

step parenting

Evgeny Atamanenko/

In the early months of building your blended family, it’s probably best to have your partner take a back seat in terms of disciplining your kids, with you staying in the background—in terms of discipline—with your step-kids. Over time, the aim is for you both to be able to share an equally authoritative role with both sets of kids but, to start with, it’s best not to risk creating hostility.

Set Structure and Routines

Most kids thrive on structure and routine—even if they don’t know it! Introducing (and sticking to) daily structures and routines is a great way of helping kids adapt to their new blended family life. Having a consistent (early) bedtime, setting chores and responsibilities, and enjoying regular family bonding time is a great start.

Adjust Expectations

Although routine is great for kids, allowing for a little flexibility to start with could pay off. Children need time to settle into their environment and may feel a little overwhelmed. For example, a two-hour family bonding time at the park may be too much in the early days, but a regular morning stroll together around the neighborhood could be just right.

Consider Family Counseling

If you’re struggling with your newly blended family, it may be worth considering family counseling. This type of session typically consists of both parents chatting with a trained counselor, who can offer advice and guidance on resolving any problems they’re facing.

How to Thrive as a Blended Family

blended family meaning

ESB Professional/

You don’t just want your blended family to survive, you want it to thrive, right? The fact that you’re reading this and are keen to put in the work is already a great sign. Below you’ll find some hints and hacks to help ensure blended family life runs as smoothly as possible.

Get Your Schedules Coordinated

Avoid conflicts and tensions by using calendars, group chats, or online timetables to get on top of your family schedules. This will help every member of the family feel valued, and as if their particular hobbies, interests, or regular events are respected. Plus it’ll help the daily taxi service of ferrying kids between school, clubs, and friends’ houses run more easily!

Celebrate Successes and Milestones

Managing the demands and challenges of a blended family can be tough, so be sure to focus on the positive by celebrating the successes and milestones of your new family unit. You could mark your first month of living together in your new blended environment with a meal at your group’s favorite restaurant, or let the kids take turns deciding where to eat out. Talk about the challenges you’ve faced, and how you resolved them together.

Hold Regular Family Meetings

Depending on the age of your kids, holding a regular family meeting is likely a great idea. As well as giving everyone a chance to air any problems or issues they’re experiencing, a group meeting is an opportunity to get together and discuss how you want things to work in your unique blended family. Use the meeting to set family expectations, roles and responsibilities, and resolve conflicts or tensions.

Be a Great Role Model

Modeling the behaviors you want to see displayed by the kids is always a good idea. Ensure that all children see you talking to others with respect, fairness, and kindness—even when this is difficult! Demonstrate to children how you want them to solve a dispute or argument by remaining calm yourself, and problem solving rather than yelling and apportioning blame.

How the Findmykids App Can Help Blended Families

blended family examples

Findmykids app

Navigating the complexities of a blended family can be challenging, especially when it comes to ensuring the safety and well-being of the children involved. Findmykids is a valuable tool that can assist parents and caregivers in several ways.

  • Real-Time Location Tracking
    • Peace of Mind: Know where your kids are at all times. This is especially helpful when managing schedules and logistics in a blended family with multiple households.
    • Safety: Quickly locate your child in case of emergencies or unexpected situations.
  • Geofencing
    • Boundaries: Set up safe zones, such as home, school, or a relative’s house, and receive notifications when your child enters or leaves these areas.
    • Routine Monitoring: Helps in managing the child’s routine across different households, ensuring they are where they’re supposed to be.
  • SOS Alerts
    • Emergency Response: Children can send an SOS alert to their parents’ phones, providing immediate location information and allowing parents to respond quickly to any distress.
  • Activity Monitoring
    • Insight: Monitor your child’s phone usage and see which apps they are using. This helps ensure they are engaging with safe and appropriate content.
    • Balance: Helps parents manage screen time and promote healthier digital habits, which is crucial for maintaining a balanced lifestyle in a blended family.
  • Communication
    • Direct Contact: Built-in communication features allow parents to call or send messages directly to their child’s device, ensuring they can always stay in touch.
  • Historical Data
    • Review: Access past location history to understand your child’s movements over time. This can be useful for planning and adjusting schedules to better fit the family’s needs.

Findmykids offers practical tools to support the unique challenges of blended families, providing security, peace of mind, and effective ways to stay connected and organized.

Ensure the safety and well-being of your children in a blended family. Download the Findmykids app today and take the first step towards peace of mind!

Managing Ex-Partners and Co-Parenting

what type of family is formed when parents remarry?


There’s one other absolutely integral element in your new blended family: your ex-partner. The ease with which you’re able to manage co-parenting will likely be determined by whether or not you’re on good terms with your ex. However, even if things ended badly and animosity remains, it’s vital, if possible, to find a way to respectfully and consistently co-parent.

Bring these strategies into play to help manage things:

  • Try to create consistency. Kids thrive with structure and routine, so try to ensure consistency across the two households, regarding basics such as discipline strategies, bedtime, and other ground rules.
  • Always prioritize the needs of your kids, and never be swayed by personal opinions, hurt, or anger. Try never to talk badly or disrespectfully about your ex-partner in front of the children.
  • Work out the best channels of communication, and how you will talk to each other regarding, for example, emergencies, schedules, or to share other important information.
  • Flexibility is highly recommended. Being as cooperative as possible, and taking into account your ex-partner’s schedule and commitments when making plans, can help maintain goodwill and ensure kids’ schedules—and your own—run smoothly.
  • Consider mediation if the situation between you and your ex is (or becomes) difficult. This can be a constructive way to move forward and prevent acrimony from impacting children.

Building a Beautiful Blended Family

how to blend families

Dasha Petrenko/

A successful blended family takes work. Those that are thriving and seem to be sailing on smooth waters? There’s usually a lot of effort, patience, and persistence going on beneath the surface to keep things on track. The key thing to remember is that no two blended families are the same; you’ll face unique challenges, but also unique joy and magic. It’s best not to compare your family to others but to trust your knowledge and intuition—after all, no one knows your children better than you do.

Clear and open communication, taking things slowly, and making every effort to see things from the kids’ perspectives will pay off in spades. And while blended family life may never be without its difficulties, it promises never to be boring!

And don’t forget about the Findmykids app, which will make it easier for you to raise children!

If you’ve formed a blended family, we’d love your top tips for helping kids adapt to a new home environment. Was there anything about blended family life that surprised you? What was your biggest challenge—and greatest success? Drop us a line in the comments box below.


blended family structure


What does a blended family mean?

The definition of a blended family is two partners who each bring a child or children from a previous relationship to a new marriage or long-term partnership. The couple may also share a child or children.

Who comes first in a blended family?

In a blended family, it’s of paramount importance that the needs of the children come first. All the kids should be treated fairly and equally, with a biological child not, for example, receiving preferential behavior to a step-child.

What are the two disadvantages of a blended family?

A common issue faced by parents in a blended family is increased sibling rivalry, with children feeling there is now even more competition for their parent’s attention. Issues can also arise when each partner has a very different parenting style, which can create inconsistencies, tension, and rivalry between kids.

What are the red flags in blended families?

Being aware of potential red flags in blended family situations means you can take prompt steps to resolve things. Red flags include emerging jealousy in children, the appearance of new behavioral problems, frequent showing disrespect, and meal and family ‘together’ times feeling uncomfortable and tense.

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