How to Achieve Happiness in a Reconstituted Family

A reconstituted family refers to when a couple with children gets together and creates a new family. In this article, discover how to achieve happiness in one.
How to Achieve Happiness in a Reconstituted Family
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

When two people get married or become a couple, they do so because they love each other and believe that their love will last a lifetime. However, we know that this isn’t always the case. In many cases, families are broken by countless reasons and, in many cases, these families have children who also suffer due to the separation. Here’s when a reconstituted family (also known as a blended family) is formed.

Each year, divorce rates rise and there are fewer marriages. If you and your partner have children from previous marriages, it’s normal for both families to come together and live together as one. Reconstituted families face great challenges that a “normal” family doesn’t have to.

New family roles in a reconstituted family

A reconstituted family will have new family roles, and there’s a delicate balance between building new relationships and giving children and the couple time to adjust.

If you want to join two families, or if you’ve already moved in together, you need to consider some tips so you can achieve happiness in this new family unit.

Build strong relationships

As a couple, you’re the captains of the ship. As parents and heads of your household, you’re in charge of this aspect. Thus, you should dedicate time to yourselves as a couple, as well as time for both of your children. For communication to be effective, it must be open and respectful among all family members.

Structure your home

Divide the chores depending on each of the family member’s individual needs. Maybe your partner knows how to cook very well and you know how to do laundry so that your clothes always smell good. Your older children will find it rewarding to share their experience and care for their younger siblings, for example.

Decide the house rules together

Having house rules is essential to make sure you live together in harmony and for happiness to thrive. Children need consistent rules. Come to an agreement with your partner regarding what’s considered acceptable behavior and the consequences of not following the rules.

If your children also spend time at your ex-partner’s home, you must coordinate these rules with them as much as possible.

Talk about money

Money is an important part of people’s lives. However, when two families come together, it can cause problems if you don’t manage it well. Thus, it’s important that you share details about your income, assets, and debts with your partner.

Seek common ground regarding how to spend, save, and invest. But you should keep your properties separate.

Respect your differences

Everyone is different and the foundation of good living and interpersonal relationships is respect. There are many advantages to bringing more of your life experience as a parent and partner.

Also, it’s possible that you may need to adjust or merge the different traditions and habits regarding everything, from vacations to curfews.

How to Achieve Happiness in a Reconstituted Family

Your family’s welfare always comes first

You need to focus all your attention on your family’s welfare. Try to talk and take everyone’s needs into account to make reasonable adjustments so that everything runs smoothly.

How to handle children in a reconstituted family

It’s important that you also have a plan with the children so that you adapt to each other and you all feel right at home. To do this, consider the following tips:

  • Understand your role. As a stepparent, calmly undertake your new role in the family. Remember that your stepchildren have their own parents. Be a positive role model for them to follow.
  • Be empathetic. Try to see things from your stepchildren’s perspective.
  • Validate and acknowledge their feelings. Be sensitive to their concerns regarding how they feel in the new family.
  • Make sure all the family members follow the house rules. Explain the house rules clearly from the beginning. It’s best for your partner to discipline their own children, especially in the early stages of the relationship.
  • Yes, there’ll always be setbacks. Family relationships fluctuate over time. Probably, you and your partner will learn by trial and error as you take on new challenges. Children may feel conflicting loyalties and need to step back sometimes.
  • Support the children’s relationship with their grandparents. If your stepchildren’s grandparents are still alive and have an active role in their lives, protect and don’t stand in the way of this sacred relationship. Put the child’s interests first. Grandparents are a precious resource that can provide unparalleled love and attention.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.