Blended families are becoming an ever-increasing reality in the 21st century. Blended homes, as anyone will testify too, come with many challenges, but one specific challenge is the issue of the actual home itself. When two families merge, will the new family feel at home in the house? What can you do on the front end to help alleviate some stressors later down the road? There will always be some challenges, but here are two areas you can focus on to prepare your house for your new family members!
Space is Key – One thing you will want to make sure to do (if at all possible) is to give each new family member his or her own space. You need to make sure they understand that this is their space and they are able to creatively make it their own! This will go miles in helping new family members feel at home!
Valuables – Another thing you can do is put cherished items around their room. Help them feel home by placing trophies, pictures, or favorite objects around the room. This will take a little research. Find out what they like to read or watch or play and find a few things to fill their space.
Equipment – Lastly, if you have children that love to bike, fish, skate, or any other activity that requires specialized equipment make sure and get that equipment (keep the receipt) for your new family members. This is a gesture that can go along ways in helping them feel at home. You don’t want to see your new blended kids looking at the stuff your kids have and feeling jealous. Help bridge that gap and maybe create a new hobby in their life!
Universal Guidelines – You will have to have conversations with your entire new family so it is important to start with family guidelines. One thing you want to make clear is that these guidelines will apply to all family members equally. Helping the kids see that everyone will be treated fairly, that they are all on equal footing will help ease the transition. But this is not enough. Your new family will be watching to see how these guidelines are held. Will you be fair or will you play favorites? Fight the temptation to play favorites (even with new family members)!
Parental Roles – Another conversation that the parents will need to have with the children are the roles the new “parents” will play. You will want to make very clear that you are not attempting (your spouse too) to usurp or replace their biological mom or dad, but you want to create a special bond with them in support of their mom or dad. You want to come alongside them and love on them and support them and be a mentor and resource. This will take time for them to understand, but one way you can solidify this is by speaking highly of their biological parent!