Counseling in Manassas, VA for Blended Families
When Mike Brady and his three sons formed a new family with Carol and her three daughters, America’s iconic family was born, “they knew that it was much more than a hunch; That this group must somehow form a family. That’s the way we all became the Brady bunch.” The Bradys were one of the first high-profile blended families, but they were by no means the last. Blended families are a growing population. Will and Jada Smith, Diana Ross, Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth are only a small handful of the celebrity families who have joined the Bradys in forging an exclusive path for their families. Whether they are famous or not, blended families face unique challenges, but they also may experience unique benefits. More and more, blended families are reaching out for help as they bring two families together as one. More and more, they are going to counseling for blended families.
“You have to take things slowly. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you’re going to automatically love their children.
All relationships take time to grow and develop. Be willing to give everyone the time and space they need. It will come.”
Blending families is all about relationships, and allowing those relationships to develop naturally can be a challenge. When two families come together, there are many things that both parents and children cannot control, but there are also things they can control—proactive steps they can take to make the process easier. Skilled therapists can often help blended families know the difference as they establish their own, unique home.
If you and your partner are bringing two families together into one home, consider reaching out for help. Thriveworks Manassas offers counseling for blended families. We understand the challenges you may be facing, but we also understand how beautiful family can be.
Blended Families: Common Challenges
When Mike and Carol Brady said, “I do,” it was 1969 and the divorce rate for first-time marriages was around 30 percent. Since, that rate has grown to 40 percent, and the rate for second and third marriages is even higher. Every day, more and more blended families are formed—1300 according to the US Census Bureau. Blended families do not have a formula to follow, and therein lies both the challenge and the beauty of blended families. Blended families can be places where deep bonds are formed, but like most good things, the benefits do not come without a lot of work. There are certain challenges that many blended families face. Challenges can affect both the children and the couple.
Challenges for the Kids
When their family life is fluctuating, children often experience the most changes but have the least say in those changes. Even adjustments that are positive can cause significant stress for children. To add to the challenge, children are often experiencing deep and difficult emotions as they navigate their new living situation and family. Kids in a blended family are often grieving the loss of their former family. They may even be processing a parent’s death. They may be feeling frustration or anger at these new changes—a normal response in the grief cycle. These difficult emotions can be expressed in undesirable behavior.
Challenges for the Adults
Just as kids in blended families face new circumstances, so do the parents. Establishing a new relationship or a new marriage is a challenge in and of itself, but in blended families, this cannot be the adults’ sole focus. Yes, couples need to work on their relationship, but they also have to lead the whole family through the blending process. If one partner has never parented previously, they may need to learn new parenting skills. If one partner is not taking on a parenting role, they will have to determine what their role will be and communicate it well to their partner and the children.
Blending a Family: A Few Tips
When families rise up to meet the challenge of blending a family, they are often rewarded with a beautiful network of love. Making a new family is a lot of work, but it is often worth the effort. Here are a few tips for making the process easier:
- Acknowledge that the process is hard: it is ok to be real instead of pretending like everything is fine.
- Be proactive: make a plan, initiate hard conversations, and set expectations early.
- Be empathetic: everyone in the family is facing challenges, so seek to be understanding, with the kids especially.
- Ask for what you need: instead of waiting for someone else to see a need and fulfill it, name what you need and ask for. Encourage the kids to do the same.
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks Manassas for Blended Family Therapy
When two families form one home, they may double the people, double the appointments, double the schools, and double the chaos, but they also may double the love and double the connections. There is a lot of support and guidance available to blended families. That is why Thriveworks Manassas offers blended family counseling. When you call our office, your first appointment may be the following day. You will also never reach a voicemail, but our scheduling specialists answer our calls and help our clients schedule their appointments. Weekend and evening sessions are available, and many insurance plans are accepted. Call today.