“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”
-Unknown

Nothing can be more complicated than joining two families together to become one. Either both partners are entering the relationship with a child from a previous situation, or only one has a child. No matter the situation, it is important to make sure that everyone involved is comfortable. When you leave your old relationship, that does not mean you have to be single and miserable your whole life. You just have to realize you are not alone anymore. You may have a child or children that also require special needs. It is important to make sure that whoever you date next understands that. Never bring your child around someone new early, especially if you are not sure if they will stick around. But if you are the person who happens to fall in love with someone with a child or children, just know that they are a packaged deal. Don’t be upset when they have to tend to their child first before you. You have to know what you are setting yourself up for. With the divorce rate steadily increasing, it is important to know how to transition into another relationship especially if you have a child.

Below are 5 helpful tips to help the transition of TWO families into ONE!

1. Acknowledge the Situation: You are now a packaged deal! Do not be ashamed of that. Just be more careful now when you approach new relationships. Once you let your new partner know, that should not come as a shock to them. If they are really trying to get to know who you are, they will not be so quick to run away. But also don’t force your child on anyone, especially if they don’t have any themselves. The situation has to feel right before any initial meetings with the child.

2. Be Patient: It is important to be patient. There will be many changes and transitions occurring, especially if both partners are bringing children from previous situations. Make sure any changes made occur before marriage, so it will be a smoother transition when that time comes. Also have compassion for those whose growth development may not be as faster as others. It may take them a while to understand the merging of the families, or take them a while to finally accept it.

3. Set Boundaries: Set boundaries that everyone will have to abide by. Don’t take sides either with your  child, or treat your step child differently. You are now one family, so it is important to start thinking that way. Let expectations be known upfront. Learn what was tolerated in previous situations, and what you are and not willing to tolerate yourself, especially when it comes to disciplining children.

4. Create Personal & Family Bonds: When the time is right, make sure you try to form a genuine bond with your partners child. Your partner will never truly be happy unless their child is happy with the situation. So make an effort to one day love the child as much as you love their parent. Children want to feel safe and secure and emotionally connected and valued.

5. Keep the Relationship Fresh: Just because the two families are joining as one, does not mean the relationship has to die off. It is important to keep the spice going, and the relationship fresh so that both adults are happy. And when they are happy, that will rub off to the children. Children can sense animosity among adults. Nurture and take care of the relationship whenever you can.

Hope this helps! Good luck !