5 Tips for Blending Your Family Peacefully

Have you remarried recently, and are you blending your families? Are you planning to get remarried? Remarrying when one or both of you have children can be a complex journey to embark upon.

A third of Americans today are part of a stepfamily structure. When both of a child’s parents remarry, that child has two entirely different immediate families to fit into. And that’s only one of the many possible issues and points of friction that remarriage can bring.

At any given time, any member of a blended family can feel a wide spectrum of negative emotions. It’s not uncommon for a stepparent or stepsibling to feel angry, resentful, or left out, for example. Perfection can’t be the goal in a blended family, since we’re all human, but it is possible to blend your families peacefully.

Blending your immediate families after remarriage requires a delicate, empathetic approach. It’s important to take the process slowly as you and your new spouse adjust and acclimate to your new life. While it may be challenging to navigate this transition, it can absolutely be done well.

Today, we’ve gathered some important tips for helping you and your spouse make the transition into a blended family. It’s possible to create a harmonious environment for your new family to thrive, and we’ll show you what it takes to get started.

1. Prioritize Your Marriage

It may seem counterintuitive when you’re combining homes and children, but your marriage should stay at the top of your priority list until you’re solid. Your kids may not understand at first, but they’ll eventually feel more grounded in your new family unit because you and your spouse took the time to work on the marriage. When your marriage is strong, you’ll be better parents–which is a win for everyone.

2. Give Everyone Space

Everyone in your new family needs their own personal space. This is important for helping each individual feel secure, and as though they belong. Even if your home doesn’t allow for each child to have an entire bedroom, for example, you need to ensure that each one has a place in the home that belongs to them. (This also applies to any of your children who may not live with you full-time.)

3. Meet as a Family

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of family meetings, especially for blended families. Meetings should be held in a relaxed environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and sharing ideas. You can discuss everything from vacation plans to the coming week’s schedule. When everyone feels they have a voice, families who meet on a regular basis can establish strong bonds.

4. Create New Traditions

Building a life together as a new blended family means you’ll want to create your own traditions that are special and unique to you. Find your common ground and lean on that, rather than focusing too hard on the things that make each of you different. It may take some time to land on activities you can enjoy together, but the time invested will be worth it.

5. Take Time to Settle In

Remarrying and blending your families is a significant transition for everyone involved. Settling into your new family routine takes time, so try to approach the process without rushing its many different aspects. It’s also important to take your time before making additional major changes, such as having your own child together.

Need More Guidance on Blending Your Family?

This post was inspired by chapter 8 of Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts. It includes more guidance on blending your family, including stories and experiences from real-life couples. To learn more, check out our bundle (which includes workbooks for men and women) here.

Have you remarried and blended a family? What tips would you share with couples embarking on the journey? Leave a comment below and let us know.


  • Veronica says:

    We’ve been a blended family for 8 years now. My stepdaughters were 14 and 16 when I met their father and were 16 and 18 when their father and I married 8 years ago. The younger one split her time between us and her mom during her last two years of high school and the older one was at a local college by then. They both live on their own now but the older one is still local. She will get married on October 30th. It’s important to note that their mother has been quite open about her intense dislike of me. She even left a garage full of hand written notes saying, “Whore, get out!” plastered all over the walls like wallpaper when I first moved in. I cannot imagine how much time that had to take. She had come over with her daughters while we were out to put those up. While the daughters, my stepdaughters, waited for her in our home to finish. Fast forward 8 years to today. Their mom and I are cordial towards each other and I’ve never returned the animosity to her. She even called to ask if I’d like to be a part of helping with the bridal shower. I was touched and said that I would love to! As it’s getting nearer the time and in looking for dresses, I don’t know what the stepmother of the bride should wear. I’ve been looking online and have seen some beautiful floor length gowns. I reached out to their mother by text to ask if she would be wearing a floor length gown. I wouldn’t want to wear one if she doesn’t. That’s when she told me that my eldest stepdaughter requested that all the moms wear a gold dress – moms, grandmoms. etc. I was crushed because just a couple of weeks earlier when I had asked my eldest stepdaughter what I should wear she said to just wear anything but to remember the wedding will be held in a barn so it’ll also be a bit rustic with brown/beige as well. Clearly she has not included me in the “Mom” category. In fact, when I specifically asked her, she didn’t mention a gold dress for the moms. That would’ve been the time. It’s clear she doesn’t view me in that category. I’m crushed beyond words. I was despondent for three days after learning that! Although, I am glad to have found that out ahead of time instead of being blindsided at the wedding. I understand that I can’t make her feel close to me or even to like me. I also understand that this is her day and not about me. I’m so happy for her and I do feel she’s marrying the right man for her at the right time. I love her and I want only God’s best for her. I guess I’m just at a loss as to the realization of how she views me. Actually, I’m crushed. I continually take this before my Lord but it’s still hard, Not to mention how awkward it is and will be at the wedding. I appreciate the article but I do feel that in her mind, she’s decided that I’m definitely not in the “Mom” category of any sort and that hurts. On the other hand, she has a fantastic relationship with both her mom and dad. Her mom bought a home with her boyfriend, the same one she left the marriage for. He has two children from his previous marriage and my stepdaughters call them their step brother and step sister even though their mom isn’t married to her live-in boyfriend. I suppose I’m just looking for some encouragement. This is all so demoralizing. Thanks for reading this. PS: Over the years I’ve reached out many times for her and I to get our nails done or go have lunch, go to the movies, shopping or anything she’d like to do and she’s always declined – always. She didn’t like me from day 1 and has never warmed up to me.

  • Donna S. says:

    Hi Veronica,
    I am so sorry for how your hurting over this situation. I am a stepchild and a stepmom, so I have been on both sides of the blended family tree! I have 5 children of my own from my first marriage and 3 stepchildren. All of our kids knew each other before, so blending our family was not as hard as others. It wasn’t without challenges, but after 16 years, we have all found our footing and everyone gets along very well.
    My advice to you is stop trying to fit in the “mom” space. I decided many years ago that I much preferred being a friend to my “step” children (we don’t refer to any of ours as “step”, they’re all “our kids”). When I made the conscious decision to consider them friends, my attitude completely changed and I found that I felt much more appreciated by the kids as their friend and not someone trying to fit in as another mom. Also, be yourself and wear whatever makes you feel confident and good about yourself to the wedding! Our son (my step) just got married a few weeks ago in a lavish event in Malibu, CA. Although I did ask the bride what dress length her mother was wearing, I chose a dress that didn’t match anyone’s and one I felt glamorous and special in. I received an overwhelming amount of compliments about my dress and it was a huge success!
    Attempting to make the ex-wife like you sounds like a waste of your energy and isn’t necessary. You can be civil and cordial to her whenever your forced to attend mutual family functions without her liking you. Be the bigger person and move on. My husband’s ex is a nice enough person and we are friendly when we are together at family events, but it doesn’t go beyond that. Focus on your marriage, be a true friend to the kids and ignore the ex-wife.

  • Blended families are here to stay. The percentage will climb up ward year by year. However, that does not make them easier. As blenders of families prepare for marriage/remarriage some big speed bumps in the driveway cam become smaller–but not totally gone. My experience as a marriage/family therapist many times this can be first marriage for one and or remarriage for both.
    I think both Veronica and Donna talk about some things that are important to be aware of as the time for nuptials comes closer. Trying too hard can make it harder. This sounds strange but come to blended family with low expectations. This way all little positive steps in the blending process becomes a plus. Hopefully, the new couple will “catch” family members doing the good things and give words of affirmation to the child at the time and later compliments with the family at large. This way a model is demonstrated for building on the positive behavior and no negative talk-lecturing of the person(s) misbehaving. Lecturing contains three items that are destructive to relationships: blaming, scolding and shaming. It also will be helpful for the parent(s) to encourage privately the child that is misbehaving. A good resource is for parents to read is The Five Love Languages (for adults & for children).
    It is best if neither new parent expects the stepchildren to call the new parent “mom/dad” If the children ask, “what should I call you”? Hopefully your answer will be something along the lines of ” whatever you are comfortable with. My name is __________, and I would like that or if and when you feel OK about calling me “mom/dad I would feel good with that title also. I will not be offended with either my name or mom/dad”.
    It is important, once the new couple’s relationship is solid and blended wedding is starting to be talked about, that there are “new family-to-be dates” both collectively and even individually. This is part of the pre-blending process. This pre-blending processes needs to take place with bio-children as well as the new children coming into the marriage, even if some of the children are only going to visit with a structured schedule. Also, reaching out for some family counseling long before the family is moving into the blended family space, maybe very helpful.
    I would like to high light # 3, the idea of family meetings. This would be best weekly or every other week. However, no less that once a month. The meeting needs to be structured with the following: posted agenda with space for additions. If item is not added it gets put on the agenda for the next meeting. A leader, secretary and someone to have a treat ready when the meeting is over. Young children will need help in these areas and these positions rotate from meeting to meeting. This way children learn to lead a meeting. It is best if the family meeting is the same day, time and place. One family guideline is that all children and both parents attend the family meetings.
    It is important to remember blended families are a work in progress. There are some good Biblical resources to learn and practice. First Cor. 13 contains 15 things what love is and is not, Gal. 5:22-23, Eph. 4:29-32, Phil. 4:8. May God’s best be yours as you blend your families together!!

  • Adding a resource to my earlier comments. Building Love Together in Blended Families by Gary Chapman and Ron Deal.

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