Blended Family Adjustment
It can be tricky for two families to combine into one successful family, particularly if there are children on both sides. The children involved might have issues adjusting to their new surroundings, new school, new stepparent and new siblings. The new stepparent is also faced with a lot of changes. This can lead to a number of issues for everyone who is a part of the newly blended family.
Some issues brought about by combining families can include:
- Feelings of unfairness or inadequacy
- Conflict between siblings
- Issues brought about by moving into a new house or new neighbourhood
- Problems after changing schools
- Issues making new friends
- Anger towards the new stepparent
- Anger towards the birth parent
- Trouble parenting stepchildren
- Conflicting methods of parenting between stepparents
Symptoms & signs of blended family stress
The above issues can result in stress for specific family members or can affect everyone in the family. Signs that these issues are starting to take their toll include:
- Excessive arguing
- Defiance from the children
- Physical altercations between new siblings
- School marks dropping (children and youth)
- Poor work performance (adults)
- Withdrawing from friends and other interests
- Always wanting to be away from home
- Mood swings or other behavioural changes
- Stress in the marriage or parent’s relationship
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Symptoms of depression
When is it time to get help?
Blended families may need to go through an adjustment process, so patience is key. However, if the usual snags that blended families often encounter are having a negative impact on any person in the family or any relationships within that family, then it’s a good idea to seek support before patterns and resentment really take hold.
Blended family stress treatment methods
Depending on the issues your blended family is facing will determine the best therapy treatment. Treatment might include improving communication, talk therapy or it may also be necessary for one or more of the children involved to go through individual therapy, such as play therapy. Or the parents might benefit from couples counselling. An evaluation conducted by a licensed therapist should be done to determine the best methods for each family member or the family as a whole. Effective family treatments include:
- Solution focused therapy views people as inherently strong and resilient, and capable of creating change and discovering solutions to their everyday problems.
- Structural family therapy involves looking at the structures within the family unit. Changing the underlying structure tends to cause a ripple effect on the family. This therapy analyzes the hierarchical structure, subsystems and boundaries within the family.
- Family systems therapy looks at the family as a one emotional unit. This therapeutic approach looks at the relationships within the family and the structure as a whole.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Navigating family relationships is often a bit challenging as there are so many different people and variables involved. Blending two families into one can add to those challenges. However, with some good communication tools, and understanding of what each member is going through – there is no reason why your blended family and everyone in it – can’t thrive. We’d be honoured to assist you on that journey.
Insight Psychological has multiple locations in the Alberta. Please contact us today to see how we can help the members of your new blended family work through their issues, to function better as a whole.