How to navigate and get to know a blended family

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Family structure can change from time to time. Here’s how to navigate and get to know your blended family.

Breaking the ice with a blended family can be tough. You may have new people to meet, a different routine to follow and/or other things to get used to. It’s common for families to experience these changes and it’s OK to feel nervous or worried about them. To make the transition easier, here are a few ways to navigate and get to know your blended family:

  • Embrace change: change can be hard for everyone, but the sooner you accept the new things happening in your family, the faster you’ll feel better about the situation. Try to be open-minded.
  • Ask questions: it’s OK to ask questions about the things you’re unsure about. You may be wondering, “How will my family balance holidays and traditions?” or “What are my new family members’ likes/dislikes?”
  • Discuss house rules: creating schedules, setting expectations and knowing boundaries can help your blended family work. (If you have a daily routine, you could post it where everyone can see it and ask others to do the same.)
  • Touch base: communication is key. Talk to your family members about how you’ll share details about what’s going on in each other’s lives. (A group calendar may help you stay organized and up-to-date.)
  • Share your life: don’t be afraid to share the things you enjoy. You could invite family members to attend your extracurricular activities, try out a new hobby with you or visit your favourite place together.
  • Focus on the positive: having a blended family can add a lot of value to your life. You may have extra family members to lean on and more people to hang out with.
  • Take time for yourself: even though you may be trying to get to know new people, it’s OK to spend time on your own. You could listen to music, read a book or go for a walk.
  • Get support: if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can always call a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868. You could also ask family members to talk to a counsellor or visit a therapist together.

Every family faces changes over time. Try to imagine the good things that may come and suggest some new activities to do together.