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The Challenges of Blended Families

The Challenges of Blended Families and How to Overcome Them

Parenting has its challenges…from daycare to tensions between parents to problems with extended family…the list goes on with how many challenges you can face. When you co-parent, you get all of those challenges plus the tensions that come with co-parenting with an ex. However, those challenges will seem simple when you add in a new partner and their kids.

That isn’t to say that blended families aren’t amazing, they are, but there are a few challenges that you will need to overcome and we will take you through everything you need to know to overcome the challenges that you may face as a blended family.

The Challenge: Sibling Rivalry

This is a term that many parents only think of with biological siblings, however, when you have a blended family, sibling rivalry is quite common with non-biological siblings. It can even be more heated with more arguments and problems occurring because of it.

Add in a new baby between the parents and that rivalry can intensify with feelings of jealousy for both the half sibling and the step sibling. And, often, sibling fights can be long lasting with grudges occurring for weeks, if not longer.

The Fix:

The fix is to make tweaks before it is broken. First, plan to spend equal time with all of the kids, both for one on one time and for shared time. Second, make sure that you talk to the kids about problems and how people living together for the first time can have arguments. Third, talk about proactive and positive ways to overcome arguments.

It is important that you don’t shame the kids for fighting. It is normal, but show them how to make amends when it happens. Listen to their concerns and find ways to deal with them. If it isn’t something that can be avoided, come up with solutions to make it easier on the kids.

Finally, don’t foster rivalry in the kids. Don’t say things like your stepsister does x, or I wish you were more like your stepbrother. Instead, encourage each kid for their unique traits and make them all feel equally valued.

The Challenge: Legal Disputes

Hopefully, by the time you become a blended family, you will have a nurturing and positive co-parenting relationship with your ex-partner, but that isn’t always the case. Often, ex-partners become worried about their role in the family as there is a new partner who is fulfilling their role when your children are with you. This can lead to some conversations over custody and visitation as well as other points about expenses now that there is a blended family to cover costs.

The Fix:

The best fix is to talk with your ex-partner. Discuss any changes that you may have and suggest using a mediator or a mediation app to help navigate the co-parenting through a blended family situation. Try to put concerns at ease and make sure that the kids aren’t encouraged to “replace” their other parent. Instead, approach it as simply having another support for your kids.

If it comes to a legal dispute, be sure to budget and decide what it is you want in the end. Also, try to keep the kids out of the dispute and ask your co-parent to do the same.

The Challenge: Identity Confusion

This is more commonly seen in households where young children become part of the blended family in the primary household. As the stepparent is spending more time with the child in their primary household, it can be extremely easy for them to build a stronger bond with the stepparent than with their biological parent. This can be confusing and can lead to a number of conflicts with older kids, and the biological parent.

In addition, if a parent takes a different last name than the kids, it can be confusing for the kids and make them feel estranged from the parent with a different last name. Again, this can lead to identity confusion for all the kids involved.

The Fix:

Start at the beginning. Before you even become a blended family, be sure to talk to the kids about how things are going to change. Be sure to invite your co-parent to this talk to so that he or she can assure the kids that his or her role is not going to change in their lives.

Every time there will be a change, such as you are getting married or changing your last name, talk to the kids about the change before it happens. Discuss their feelings and what they are worried about.

After the change, go in and touch base with your kids. Talk to them about how they are feeling, what their worries are and what they need to adjust to the change. Also talk to them about how it is okay for them to form a bond but reassure them that their biological parent is as important in your new, blended family as they were in your co-parenting family.

The Challenge: Anger Toward New Stepparents

The final challenge we are going to go over, but definitely not the only challenge, is when kids dislike or have anger toward the new stepparent. This can come out as behaviour or it can be more hidden with the child being polite but reserved. Often, they can be angry with the new stepparent because of worries that things are going to change, or they’ll be forgotten, or that they don’t like the new changes. All of these are normal and with the proper work, you can overcome them.

The Fix:

Be patient. Remember, these behaviours and feelings are normal. Instead, talk to the kids about their feelings and assure them that there will be changes but certain things won’t change. Discuss their worries and when you can, try to stick to your normal routines but invite your new partner to those routines as the kids allow.

Make sure that you let your kids know that it is okay to love the new stepparent and that they can love both their biological parent and stepparent. Really, the best fix is communication, patience and providing opportunities for the bond to grow between stepparent and child.

Being in a blended family can be amazing but it isn’t amazing overnight. There needs to be work, everyone has to learn how to coexist together and they need to nurture bonds. If you are putting in the work, however, you can overcome and even avoid these challenges and have a fully blended family with stepparents, step kids and co-parents as well.

Why 2houses?

We are a co-parenting facilitator!


A calendar for everyone, getting organised when you’re divorced is a priority. 2houses provides you an online shared schedule, with many editing, adding, and sync features.


For us, as divorced parents, the financial topic is most of the time a conflict topic. Now, 2houses manages all expenses from each parent, keeps you informed on the situation, day after day, coins after coins.


Communication is key, this is why 2houses offers you an online messaging tool, simple, efficient and secure.


The journal is your quick family social network. You can easily share all information, news, photos, videos, and even your children’s funny quotes. The family is never far away, no matter where you are geographically located.

And many more features!

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