4 Solutions for Step Siblings who Cannot Get Along
While there are many issues that come along with blending a family, there are also many beautiful attributes that it can add to your life as well - like new siblings!
Every family is different and will encounter their own problems when trying to blend two families together, but there are a few hurdles that seem to be a common thread when it comes to bringing children together as step-siblings. Here are some realistic solutions to the most common problems that blended families will come across when trying to bring together their children in harmony.
Change is hard for young children. Especially when it includes their parents splitting and remarrying, then introducing new siblings into the mix as well. That’s a lot for a child to handle! Children can understandably have a hard time sharing parents affection with other children that haven’t always been in the picture. Fighting is bound to ensue. However as a parent you have control over how you frame the situation and can do many things to help your children assimilate to each other. The process almost always has few bumps and growing pains along the way, but these few tips can help make it a much smoother process!
1. Don’t force the situation.
Your children don’t have to immediately be best friends. It takes time to get used to each other and for everybody to find their place in the family. Let them approach the relationships at their own pace so that when they do, it’s their idea. Forcing relationships between children can cause them to become bitter and angry.
2. Make sure that everybody has their space.
Something that is easy to overlook when blending a family is making sure that everybody feels as though their territory isn’t being taken over. Especially with children, they aren’t used to sharing their home, their toys, and even their parents. If it isn’t possible to make sure that every child has their own room, see to it that each has a place they can go or activity they can do on their own that they enjoy without being completely bombarded by other children. Whether it’s a nook of the house to read in, or a ballet class that they love - try to help each child feel as though they still have some control over their space and domain.
3. Encourage children to compete against their own selves to be their best instead of against each other.
When disciplining your children, shy away from comparing them to their step siblings actions. Ask them to make changes based on their own level of morality and learning, not in comparison to their siblings and step siblings. Pitting children against each other can only foster feelings of competition, negativity, jealousy, and bitterness - especially when coming from a parent that they are already feel like they have to share!
4. Allow alone time with parents.
This rule goes both ways! Allow your children to have alone time with their biological parent as well as their stepparent. While it may seem counter-intuitive as you may think the whole family should be spending as much time together as possible, it is actually extremely important to let each relationship blossom on its own level. Children want to feel special and have time with their original parent alone every once in a while. They want to know that their bond hasn’t been forgotten and that old routines or special traditions they share haven’t been ripped away. It’s also very helpful to let that bond foster between a stepchild and stepparent by forming new traditions and sharing private moments between the two. Have the stepparent invite the stepchild on a fun date, outing, or spend time alone doing something the child loves.