Your Blended Family And Summer Fun

Today's families are often blended: both parents bring children from a previous marriage or relationship into the new family.

This is an exciting time!

While there is potentially great fun and adventure awaiting you, there are also challenges, uncertainty and the discomfort that comes with any big life change.

While many times stepsiblings find they have a lot in common and benefit from an extended support circle, it can also be quite an adjustment at first. And, quite frankly people, especially siblings, cannot be expected to get along all the time.

It may take some time, but your blended family can find ways to make it work pretty well for everyone. Here are some tips to help make this happen.

What to do to prepare
for the blended family experience

  1. Biological parents should make time in their schedules to hang out with their bio-children. As much as a child may like their stepparent, their summer visit is really about spending time with their biological parent.
  2. Biological and summer stepparents should plan "team building" activities to strengthen the blended family. These activities should be fun, encouraging and promote healthy family discussions.
  3. Biological parents should make sure that their children have structured activities to do during the day. These activities may consist of camps, sports, groups, and summer school. Young children may attend a daycare.
  4. Biological and summer stepparents should create a space for the child/children who will be staying in the home during summer. The 'space' may consist of a permanent summer cot/bed, a special drawer/closet and/or anything to show the child that they have a 'place' in the blended family. Giving the child their own space helps them feel like a member of the family.
  5. Biological and summer stepparents should get plenty of rest. First time summer stepparents will discover that parenting can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. Getting the proper amounts of sleep will help parents maintain good physical and emotional health.
  6. Summer biological parents should collect any documents that are necessary for travel, to maintain the child's health and/or enroll the child in summer programs/activities. These documents may include vaccination records, birth certificates, state or school issued identification/passport and health insurance cards.
  7. Custodial biological parents should discuss summer living arrangements with the child. Children may worry about not seeing their friends or being left "out of the loop" during the summer. Parents can make provisions for the child to keep in touch with friends and family while they are away. Calm the child's apprehension about traveling by informing the child where he/she will stay, specifying the mode of travel (plane, boat, train, car) and determining the length of stay.
  8. Non-custodial biological parents should increase communication with the child as the time to visit approaches. This is also a good time to discuss the child's hobbies and interests. Doing so will make it easier for summer biological parents to know what activities they should register their child for. Remind children who are apprehensive about leaving friends that they will be able to contact them during their stay.
  9. Inform the child of the household rules. Don't assume that because they are obedient and/or make good choices while in their custodial parent's home that they will automatically know what to do in your home. Informing the child of the household rules gives the child your standards for behavior and the tools to make healthy choices in your home.
  10. Give the child or children time to adjust. Don't try to force them to like their stepparent or to instantly get involved with life in your household. Children may need time to assess their thoughts and feelings. They may also need time to adjust to household differences such as curfews and bedtimes.
  11. Create a living space for the child. Every child needs a space that he or she can call his or her own, especially in a new place and with a new or blended family. Make sure you create this space (a bed, cot, futon and a closet, dresser or drawer) as this helps with the transition.
  12. Provide structure/routine. Children that attend school spend a lot of time in a structured environment. Participating in activities provides an environment conducive to making friends. Making friends may help the child adjust to the summer living situation.

The Marin Law Firm, P.A. in Orlando has helped many blended Florida families resolve their issues. Call us if you have questions and need to speak to an experienced family law attorney or need help resolving a legal matter. Call 407-680-1867, or write to us using this online form.