Adjusting to a blended family can get complicated. But what I know to be true is that love can be fostered and resilience can be created within the family unit.

Let’s dive into the intricacies of blended families, the hurdles and rewards of this new dynamic, and my practical advice on how you can navigate your path. And I assure you, it is possible for every blended family to thrive and be harmonious with effective co-parenting and creating new traditions.

Tune in to this episode on  Challenges & Rewards of Blended Families After Divorce

Key points covered in this episode: 

 ✔️ Foster communication among both adults and kids. Creating extra space for new family members and recognizing each other’s roles can get challenging. But talking it out always helps.

✔️ Balance respect and openness. Teach your kids to treat their step-parent as any authority figure, and vice versa. Practice compassion in listening and understanding their emotions during this transition period. Assure them their feelings matter and nobody gets replaced.

✔️ Love gets to expand. Assure your kids that there’s nothing wrong with loving their step-parents and step-siblings. It may be hard to accept this at first, but it’s important for your kids to have positive relationships.

✔️ Blended families create new connections and lessons. Now you and your kids have a bigger support network as you build your resiliency and empathy. This also means more memories and shared experiences with more people.

✔️ Blended families provide endless resources for your kids. There’s always more to give your kids! Having more people with knowledge and experience that surrounds them encourages them to try more things.

✔️ Blended families strengthen bonds. It isn’t easy to get in the swing of things, but the idea that you’ll get to do so many things together is exciting!

This dynamic requires so much patience and willingness to adapt. But once you get past the challenges, the rewards will start to outweigh them – making the whole journey completely worth it.

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This Week's Transcript

Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of The Divorced Woman’s Guide podcast

I am your host

Wendy Sterling

I’m so excited to be here with you guys today as a reminder do not forget to hit subscribe in this podcast episode so that you don’t miss a single one that comes out every single week and in order for more people to hear about my podcast. I would love to invite you guys to add a star rating and a review so that other people can get the benefits that you do as you listen to my podcast hopefully every single week and I am looking forward to sharing today’s episode with you guys because it’s one that I have navigated both from the perspective of watching my children and then from myself personally and so today’s episode is gonna talk about the rewards and challenges around blending families after divorce.

And so let’s dive in

As we as we know divorce is a very life altering of impact and it affects not only you know you and your former spouse but it also impacts our children.

And in the midst of all of the challenges and all of these new chapters that are unfolding for everybody one that involves blending families is one that can be complicated.

But what I know to be true is that there is the possibility for love to be fostered and for new families to create resilience in themselves and in the family unit by following a couple of the steps that I’m gonna share with you guys today.

And so what I wanna do in this episode is really dive into the intricacies of blended families and talk through the hurdles and the rewards that come with this journey I’m gonna share with you guys my own personal story. I’m gonna give you guys some insights and some practical advice to help you navigate your path.

I believe that it is possible for every blended family to thrive and to be harmonious however with that comes adjusting to new family dynamics there’s a co parenting element it is gonna come into play here as well as potentially creating new traditions.

We are going to dive into and explore it all I’m also gonna talk about the emotions involved how important communication is and how it is that you get to strike a balance when you are fostering unity.

So I am going to just set this up as this episode is for anybody okay so whether you’re someone who’s embarking on a new chapter of your life maybe you are a step parent seeking guidance on how to do this.

Or maybe this is something that you know you will be approaching at some point in time either way I invite you guys to tune in and listen because you always will gain something new from one of my podcasts.

So let’s dive in.

Let’s start with the challenges so here are five challenges that I see associated with blending families after divorce so No. I alluded to in my intro which is about adjusting to new family dynamics. So think about it you’re merging two completely separate family units right into one household and that very much can lead to conflicts an adjustments at as we’re navigating all of our new roles and relationships with one another.

And I can tell you guys from my own personal experience you know just moved in last year with his son and there was a lot of adjustments that had to be made.

There were there was not just space but also okay what is my role in your son’s life? What is your role in my son’s lives? How is it that we’re gonna come together and to really start understanding personalities?  How is it that we are gonna communicate you know rules of the house and when you’re adjusting to these new family dynamics.

What I can say when it comes to these challenges? What’s most important in this is communication and it really is communication between the two adults and also fostering communication amongst the kids.

I’m also being sure that you are you know with my kids for example you know I’m always a sounding board for them and I help support them in creating a relationship with you know my partner Jeff.

You know similarly Jeff does the same thing with his son so it’s really it’s it’s almost like it can be this beautiful waltz.

That again it’s just gonna involve really really really good communication so another challenge is co parenting. So there is gonna be complexities of somebody else coming in and parenting your child.

Also potentially a new co parent or excuse me rather a new step parent that is going to be communicating with either you or with your former spouse. So it’s really important that introductions are made that phone numbers are exchanged that it that you have a great deal of patience. Sometimes compromise is gonna come into play and just making sure that there is an open dialogue right that you know I always tell my children like they get to be respectful of their stepmom.

And while no she’s not there you know their mom she is somebody who has authority in their house and they have to come at things with with respect and at the same time I’ve also communicated to my ex husband the importance of her respecting my place in their life as their mom.

And me being the one making decisions with their dad and vice versa.

So I hope that that helps you guys out with that one another challenge is emotions oh my goodness. Our kids go through roller coasters of emotions right?

We experienced it when they went through divorce and they are going to experience a lot of different emotional adjustments navigating blended families.

So what’s important is making sure that you’re holding space for your kids feelings, they feel comfortable, that they can still come and talk to you. Empathy is really important in this.

And really just figuring out new ways to support one another you know making sure that they know that they’re important to you.

That their feelings matter. That they haven’t been replaced right because that’s something that also could have kids tend to act out, challenge.

New routines or maybe even new traditions. So when families come together right I can tell you from experience my kid’s dad, he moved further away and so what does that mean to my kids?

Well it means getting up earlier, it means being on different bus routes with different kids. So what’s really important is making sure that your kids understand really what is going to be happening moving forward at you know their other parents house versus your house. And making sure that you know I’m always preaching about, consistency, with kids. Kids need consistency and security.

Making sure that you’re working with them through these new routines and also making sure that you know perhaps even just from as simple as like making lunches right like maybe they buy lunch at one of the parents house. And at your house you make lunches or vice versa.

So just again making sure that you know any challenge gets to be overcome and it really again it’s all about communication and then finally the last challenge is a tricky one. 

And that is about balancing loyalties right.

So so many times family members may feel torn between the loyalty to their biological parents versus their new step parents or step siblings. And you know I remember in the beginning my kids you know felt like they were um you know if they liked their stepmom. That that meant something negative to me or I would feel something negative or bad and it’s really important that our kids know that it’s okay for them to have a relationship with their new step parent or their step siblings. That it’s okay to love them that you know you know that they always love you that you’re their mom, you’re their dad, and I know that it’s so hard.

Like oh my God, I remember I had to totally just like when do you can do this it was so hard for me in the beginning. But I have to tell you that it’s really really important that you help your children in fostering these positive relationships. You know the same thing when I observe my kids with um with my partner Jeff is making sure that they also know that you know by saying I love you to Jeff it doesn’t mean that you don’t love your dad. It doesn’t mean you’re hurting Dad’s feelings like love gets to expand and we get to bring new people into our families.

So those are the challenges okay um the rewards okay we’re gonna end this positive and this podcast on a positive note.

So the rewards are No. you
get this huge extended family .Right blended families have uh the opportunity or give you the opportunity to create new relationships and new connections.

It’s also enables you to have like this whole new support network and creating new lifelong bonds. I mean my kids now have you know extended cousins which they didn’t have for a very long period of time. It’s just really and they get excited now to go see everybody right there’s kids that are their age there are kids that are younger. There are kids that are older so it’s been really beautiful to see how these
connections are happening and also how those connections are supporting your extended family. 

In terms of rewards is personal growth and learning right so blended families really offer the opportunity for us to grow and to learn as individuals because we are adapting to these new family dynamics. It’s also building a new kind of resiliency and it’s also teaching us a new level of empathy I will say and an understanding of what other people’s experiences are.

Now reward is shared experiences and memories like blending families creates new unique shared experiences and memories.

Like family vacation so um my family gets to go to Hawaii every year.

And so on uh last year’s vacation we created this new tradition with Jeff and his son and now as we’re gearing back up to go on this trip in a couple of weeks.

The boys are getting super excited again about the traditions that we created together last year and it’s been really cool to watch them get excited about that.

Also with like celebrations and milestones so my kids always get homemade cupcakes on their birthday and now Jeff’s son gets to have a cupcakes he gets to pick and he tells me what he wants me to make for him on his birthday.

So it really fosters this sense of togetherness and belonging another reward is that blended families bring together a whole new set of skills and perspectives. Which leads to more support like can you imagine like there’s an endless supply of support and resources that our kids and even us get to have right.

I mean that emotionally and practically there’s this opportunity for us to learn new things or to perhaps do different things.

One of the things that I love is that my son and Jeff son now they go workout together, they go golf together, also
Jeff son is tapping into some of Adam’s resources to help him with him navigating his college experience and career.

It’s just so beautiful to see just how like you can’t love our kids enough you can’t give our kids enough.

It’s never ending there’s always, always more to give and then the last is it strengthens your bonds as a family unit.

It provides such an amazing opportunity for you to create this new really fun strong family unit that you rally behind and you get excited to spend time together.

Now don’t get me wrong you guys, I know that blending families after divorce is not easy, trust me it took us about months after Jeff moved in with his son for us to really get into the swing of things.

It required a hell of a lot of patience, a lot of understanding, and a willingness to really adapt to new dynamics, and I hope that through today’s episode you have heard some ways that this can be just the most beautiful thing in the world.

It’s clear that even though challenges will exist the rewards far outweigh the challenges and the rewards are completely worth it. So I appreciate you guys being open to today’s episode and remember that you know with every episode right not everything is gonna work for everybody.

There’s no one size fits all approach but what I’m here to invite you to do is to really navigate this blended family dynamic with open communication with an open heart and the ability to see what a thriving, resilient, loving, blended family gets to look like after divorce.

Thank you guys again for tuning in I so appreciate it you know with every episode I try to give you nuggets of information to help you navigate wherever it is that you guys are in your process and if you aren’t already a member of my Facebook group check it out: The Divorce Rehab with Wendy.

You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok , Threads is a new one I am all over the place and also you can subscribe to my YouTube channel: The Divorce Woman’s Guide which is my podcast so thanks again sending you all so much love light and joy.