Parents often face challenges, resistance and uncertainly from their children (especially teenagers) when blending two families together. For information about why this happens check out my blog titled Blending A Family: Why This Can Be Such A Challenge With Teens here: http://bit.ly/N1xxjW. When going through this process, there are some things that parents can do to help their teenager. Below are 5 tips for parents facing challenges in this process:
- Be patient. Remember that this process takes time and that there are bound to be some bumps along the way. Despite your eagerness to having things work out so that everyone is comfortable and happy, there will be an adjustment period that will take time.
- Be clear. Don’t give your teenager any false hope or idea that you will back down from your plan to blend your families unless you are prepared to actually do this. It is better to be clear with them about what is happening than to give the false hope or information about what is taking place.
- Make time for your teenager. Even though they may reject your offers to spend time with them, it is important that you are offering it so that they still feel special. If there are things you did that used to just be the two of you that now include several other people (i.e. dinner time, watching television at night) you should try to carve out time periodically to do these activities – just you and your teen. It is normal that they may resent having to share this time with others so it is important that you validate them in their feelings and help to make sure they feel included and important at all times.
- Establish routines. Although teens will tell you they hate routines, they benefit greatly from them and actually feel better with the predictability of having a routine. All of your routines will likely require some adjustment as you blend your families. Try to get input from everyone about what will work and promote that everyone make some compromises as needed. It is good to think about structuring things like morning routines, chores, having friends over, television watching, meal times, etc.
- Establish clear rules and be consistent. You and your new partner will need to make some decisions about rules and consequences. As I have discussed in other articles, your teenager needs to see you as a united front so you should never have disagreements about rules in front of them. In addition, once you are able to establish rules, it is important to share them with your teenager upfront so that they are aware of your expectations and the consequences for not following them.
For more parenting support designed specifically for parents of teenagers go to www.HowToParentATeen.com.