12 Common Problems With Blended Families And How To Resolve With Them

Updated April 6, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
“Issues and problems can definitely be normal for any family dynamic. Try your best to remember that while also preparing yourself for the problems you are worried you will face. If you are in need of support to navigate any issues that may arise, know that affordable professional help is out there.” - Ryan Smith, LPC, NCC

If you already have a blended family or you're thinking about blending your family with your partner’s, it can be wise to consider the problems you could run into. After all, it is natural to want to make sure that your family will be healthy, happy, and a strong, cohesive unit. Going into the situation feeling prepared can set you and your family members up for success and help you solve issues that may arise along the way. So, just what should you know? What are other blended families facing, and how can you prevent those problems from affecting your own family?

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Learn to manage your newly blended family

Not being on the same page

In order for your children to mesh well, it can be important for both parents to present a strong and united front. Before beginning to parent together, it can be helpful to sit down and decide what that process will look like. Each of you can make firm decisions together about how to raise the children and what do if and when they misbehave. If you decide that you're only going to be responsible for your children and your partner is only responsible for theirs, this can be a viable option. However, you may want to agree on punishments for specific situations so that the children don't feel that one or the other are getting treated differently. 

Trying to continue as you were

You and your partner are now responsible for a larger family. It can be crucial to talk about how this will change your relationship and your new family. It may not be helpful to assume that things will continue as they were before. Your family is going to change and be different, and that means the process might involve situations you’ve never experienced before. You'll likely need to work with your new partner to figure out how you're going to handle life's daily activities and everything that needs to be done.

Not realizing the ex is a part of your family too

Whether your partner has a positive relationship with their ex or not, that person may be an official part of your family from now on. Just like your ex might be a part of your family forever, you may need to accept their ex into the family as well. It might be difficult to work with them positively and healthily. Still, it can be essential to your family's overall health and your relationship with your step-children.

Not letting your partner parent your children

It can be difficult for you to let your partner be a parent to your biological children. Understand that the same could be true for them. To prevent hurt feelings, resentment, or misunderstandings, try to practice open communication. Setting healthy boundaries around the children can also be beneficial. If your partner brings up a concern about your children, or vice versa, try to remain patient with another. Avoid taking these comments personally or feeling attacked, unless of course their comments are abusive or unfair. 

Not preparing for the outside world

Other people may make comments about your family. Whether they are part of your family or completely outside of your family, they may have things to say and opinions to give. This can be true even of non-blended families. Someone may ask you which children are 'yours' or they may be surprised by the large number of children that you have. They may make negative comments because of how many children you have. Devise a plan for these kinds of situations and have open conversations with your children when they do occur. 

Not recognizing the potential for sibling rivalry

Just as in non-blended families, sometimes the children don’t get along with one another. Even if your children and their children were the best of friends before the two of you became one family, it doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to blend together with no problems. If your children are close to the same age, this can be even more challenging. Understand that your children may have arguments, and there may be times when they take sides against one another. It can be essential to expect these things and to have a plan for how to resolve them. Talking openly with your partner about these situations can help you both be prepared in advance. 

Not giving enough attention to each child

When it comes to blending families, it can be crucial to make sure that you pay attention to each child equally within the family. Keep in mind that you are responsible for all children in the same way your partner is. That means you're probably going to need to find a way to spend some time with each of the children in a positive way. Kids need to feel safe, cared for, and like they belong. Understand that, since they are all going to be your children now, it can be vital to help them feel welcomed and loved by you as well as their biological parent. 

Not explaining the situation to your children

Your children may feel a certain type of way about this new relationship and their new family. That means you're likely going to need to sit them down and talk to them about what this will mean for them, their siblings, and you as their parent. Talk to them about how you are now one family, which means you're going to be treating all of your children (them and your new step-children) the same way. Take the time to answer all of their questions and explain that you love them and that although things will be different from now on, it can still be a positive change for everyone.

Not recognizing the trouble of becoming a parent

If you didn't have any children of your own before this relationship, it might not be easy to suddenly become a mother or father. You may not know how to parent or feel unsure about what your role will be. Parenting can be difficult, even if you’ve had experience with it before. Trying to replace their other parent or disciplining them harshly may not win you any favor. It can be important to talk with your partner about your responsibilities as a new parent and what it means to step into this family. 

Not realizing the difficulty your step-children face

Being part of a brand-new family can be difficult for everyone. Understand that your step-children (and your children) may be going through a difficult time and experiencing a lot of conflicting, complex emotions. They may struggle with how to accept you as their parent while they still have another parent. They may not know how they feel about you because they don’t want to be disloyal to another parent. Some may even see you negatively, particularly in the beginning. They might struggle with the new family dynamic or not want to share their parent’s attention with you. All of these things can make it hard for your relationship, but if you can understand and be patient with them, the situation can turn around and improve over time.

Not realizing that it takes work

Recognize that there can be a learning curve when forming a blended family. There may be times at the beginning where you or your partner don't know how to react. There may also be times where you make mistakes. This is natural; you are both human. Be open and honest about all of these things and try to be willing to make changes throughout the blending process. Talk to the children, especially about mistakes made and what you're going to change going forward. This can help your relationships to continue to grow and may allow the family to thrive with more ease.

Not understanding your family is going to be different 

The textbook definition of a blended family may still look starkly different from your own. Likewise, the definition of a blended family won’t help you deal with the problems that arise within your own. You’ll probably face many unique situations from other families and not know exactly how to handle them. Working with your partner, you can figure out what steps to take to solve them. While you may not be able to rely on traditional family advice, you can still learn along the way and do your best create a family you can be proud of. 

Learn to manage your newly blended family

Online counseling with Regain

If you're struggling with your new family and your new relationships, you may consider seeking family counseling, couples therapy, or individual counseling. You can participate in online therapy through Regain, which offers guidance to couples and individuals alike. Starting a blended family can be time-consuming and challenging, and it may be difficult to make time for things like therapy. However, online counseling allows you to prioritize what matters most and meet at a time that works for everyone. You can participate in sessions from the comfort of your home, or anywhere else you have Wi-Fi, often making it easier and more convenient to get the support you need. 

The efficacy of online counseling 

Those experiencing problems blending their family with their significant other’s may benefit from online counseling. Researchers have studied the efficacy of web-based programs for couples experiencing relational distress. One study showed how an internet-based intervention was successful in increasing relationship satisfaction and reducing overall psychological distress. It also improved participants’ symptoms of anxiety and depression.


It can be important to remember that everyone is learning within a blended family. This situation is new for the kids and adults alike and bringing everyone together can involve difficult emotions. However, committing to the process and practicing patience can help your family thrive. If you’ve tried everything you can to hold your blended family together without seeing results, confiding in an online counselor could be a helpful next step to take. In many cases, family therapy can effectively solve problems, improve communication, and allow the whole family to grow together.

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