Blended Family Counseling & Therapy Services in Orlando, East Orlando, Lake Mary, Winter Park & Clermont Florida FL

Our TLC Blended Family Experts in the News

News Interviews our Family Experts on 10 Avoidable Mistakes Divorced Parents Make
Who is Jim West the President of Total Life Counseling Center in 45 Seconds!
Fox 35 Interviews our Blended Family Experts on Parenting Boundaries

What is a Blended Family?

Blended Family is simply the modern term for a Stepfamily. The Merriam Webster dictionary states that a blended family is, “a family that includes children of a previous marriage of one spouse or both”. Today, a Blended Family can include children from several previous marriages and relationships, “half siblings” (two children who share one parent together and one parent individually), and adopted children.

Pew Research Center released a national report on January 13, 2011 giving the following statistics on Blended Families:

  1. 42% of adults have a step-relationship with either a stepparent, a step or half sibling, or a stepchild. This translates to 95.5 million adults.
  2. 13% of adults are stepparents (29-30 million); 15% of men are stepdads (16.5 million) and 12% of women are stepmoms (14 million).

Call one of our Marriage Experts for a 15 Minutes Complimentary Phone Consultation – (407) 248-0030

blended-family-counseling
kardashian-blended-family
blended-familiy-2

Why is Premarital Counseling Important for Blended Family Couples?

Most statistics tell us that 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 75% of those divorcees will remarry, and at least 60% of those remarriages will end in a re-divorce. Couples getting remarried shortly after divorcing is a major factor in re-divorce.

Counselors usually recommend that couples with children from previous relationships who are dating and planning to marry attend premarital counseling for the following reasons:

  1. Counseling provides a setting for each person to reflect on their previous marriage to address any patterns or issues individually before entering into a new marriage commitment.
  2. Expectations related to finances, religion, holidays, discipline, and other areas of both relational and family oriented matters can be discussed and communicated between the couple that will later be communicated with the children, extended family members, and ex-spouses.
  3. Counseling provides an opportunity for the couple to focus on their relationship both outside the structure and within the structure of the Blended Family unit.

What should we do if we are already a Blended Family having problems?

If you are already in a Blended Family and didn’t have the opportunity to benefit from pre-marital counseling…Don’t worry, there is still hope. Make an appointment for counseling as a couple to assess any areas of crisis and prioritize your issues. After the initial counseling session, you and your counselor will work together to create a Family Structure Plan specific to your unique family. Once your Family Structure Plan is in place, continued sessions will help you address the specific areas of your marriage and family to move you toward the harmony and family unit you wish for. Remember…there is no perfect family! All families have difficulty and every family can learn ways to have structure and peace within the home and relationships.

Here are just a few of the many challenges facing Blended Families:

  1. Deciding where to live: Blending two families usually involves changing neighborhoods, schools and the security of familiarity for some or all the family members.
  2. Resistance from the children: Some children do not want their parent to remarry or do not get along with their step-siblings. Children oftentimes will act out in some way against the natural parent and/or the step-parent.
  3. Implementing Rules and Discipline: Determining a structure of rules and discipline can be very challenging for the Blended Family and may also include challenges over disciple disagreement with the ex-spouses. This is a difficult time for children due to having different rules at different homes in addition to having to adjust to the reality of losing the family they had and adjusting to a new one being created.
  4. Deciding how the children will address their step-parent: Deciding how to address a step-parent can be an important aspect of the relationship between the step-parent and child.
  5. Continuing relationships with friends and family members associated with past marriages: Setting boundaries with these relationships is important to the health of the Blended Family unit as well as the marital relationship.
  6. Ongoing interaction with former spouses: Co-parenting can be very challenging and is often the source of discord within the new marital and Blended Family relationships.

What is a Family Structure Plan?

It is important for everyone in the Blended Family to feel secure and valued in the new family unit and not like a “fifth wheel”. In order to avoid as many problems as possible and to consider the emotional wellbeing of all family members, it is a good idea to develop and implement a Family Structure Plan. This can be done with the couple in counseling and then implemented and assessed for changes over a period of time. The purpose of the plan is to ensure that all members of the family feel valued, safe, loved, and aware of their expected role in the Blended Family.

Important Tips for Success in a Blended Family:

  1. Don’t try to make the Blended Family a Traditional One…It isn’t! Try to be realistic in that this is an adjustment and time of growth for everyone. Learn to be flexible in allowing all family members to work through their fears, anger, grief and adjustment to the new family unit.
  2. Don’t force relationships! Not everyone in the family may love everyone else. It is best to set up some ground rules for respect and kindness toward each other, but allow time for relationships to develop naturally, instead of trying to force them.
  3. Be sure to nurture your marital relationship! It can be overwhelming blending two families and working through all the challenges. It is important to spend some time enjoying each other by going on weekly dates and making daily time for communication so you can have the strength and sense of oneness to face your challenges together.

Allow the Natural Parent to administer discipline! It is important to allow the natural or biological parent to administer discipline until a Family Structure Plan is in place. Once your plan is in place and the children are aware of expectations and consequences, both parents can administer discipline that is already decided and agreed upon. After the Family Structure Plan is in place, the natural parent will continue to be the one to administer discipline when unexpected events happen that require disciplinary action.

Feeling Emotionally Beat Up? 5 Tips on How to Handle Being The Target of Aggression Orlando Counselor

November 17th, 2017|0 Comments

There is so much focus on bullying in schools and how to help our kids, but what happens when you have to deal with it as an adult? I have always tried to keep the [...]

How to keep a healthy mind after traumatic events | Orlando Trauma Counselor

November 15th, 2017|0 Comments

It feels like we are living in daily human chaos lately as almost every week we receive the news of another shooting and terrorist attack happening. These horrifying attacks seem to have become constant events in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, unexplainable motives [...]

5 Essentials for Strong Mental Health

October 17th, 2017|0 Comments

May is Mental Health Awareness month and just as "April showers" produce beautiful "May flowers"…Life’s painful tears can produce beautiful healing and growth through regular "Mental Health Check-ups." We all have a doctor we see [...]

  • brad pitt depression angelina jolie tips for happiness

7 Tips for Boosting Happiness | Brad Pitt | Orlando Depression Counselor

October 16th, 2017|0 Comments

7 Tips for Boosting Happiness! Brad Pitt recently answered marriage questions about his relationship with Angelina Jolie, and shared his personal history of struggling with depression as a teenager and young adult. He reports that [...]

Gaslighting in Relationships

October 11th, 2017|0 Comments

Gaslighting is a very common form of manipulation, but few have heard of the term or can identify it. The information presented here is to inform about and help recognize this type of relational abuse, [...]

Suicide Prevention: You Can Make a Difference

October 8th, 2017|0 Comments

Suicide: one of the few remaining taboo subjects in polite society. It’s a tragic topic and not one people what to discuss but with the World Health Organization reporting approximately one death every 40 seconds [...]

After the Tragedy: PTSD as the Result of Mass Shootings

October 5th, 2017|0 Comments

The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, which left at least 59 dead and over 500 more injured, has been confirmed as the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Sadly, gun violence is a pressing issue [...]

Las Vegas Massacre | What to do When you Don’t know What to do? | 5 Tips That Will Help

October 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

What to do When you Don’t know What to do? If you are like most people and watch the news, the world is probably looking pretty scary lately. Recent hurricanes have ravaged from Texas to [...]

“People” People | 4 Facts About What It Means To Be An Extrovert

September 1st, 2017|0 Comments

“You’re so outgoing!” “You’re such a ‘people’ person!” “You’re the life of the party!” If you’ve ever heard these things, you might be an extrovert. Being an extrovert is more than just being outgoing. Being [...]

With our team of professionals, and by special arrangements, we can handle most any emotional, mental, or spiritual need. As a team we have several counselors specializing in most areas of concern – (407) 248-0030