Parenting within a blended family

When you or your spouse brings children from previous relationships into your union, the blended nature of your new family can lead to certain challenges that non-blended families generally do not face. For example, one or more of your children may be the subject of a child custody agreement which binds both that child and your family to a former romantic partner of you or your spouse.

When you are parenting within a blended family, it is vitally important that you respect the relationship that your children have with their other parent(s). Whether another parent is present in a child’s life or not, the ties that bind that child to his or her other parent are not yours to compromise. Certainly, you may need to set certain boundaries related to that other parent, but it is important that you treat that parent’s presence or memory with respect in front of your child.

Failure to respect your child’s other parent can lead to child custody complications. A court will likely frown upon any behaviors which can be viewed as alienating your child from his or her parent (provided that parent is “fit” and has been recognized as such by the court). In addition, courts may frown upon your parenting style if you prove to be an uncooperative co-parent.

Even if your child’s other parent is no longer a presence in his or her life, disrespecting that parent may harm your child. That child’s identity is forever linked to his or her parents. Disrespecting your child’s parent may cause him or her to internalize that criticism in potentially destructive ways.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The Hardest Part Of Being A Parent In A Blended Family,” Brittany Wong, April 16, 2015


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