Creating a blended family that might comprise biological and stepchildren, your partner’s ex and other extended family members is complex, and it may take some time for strong family relationships to form.

One in three marriages is now a remarriage; however, research indicates that more than half of remarriages fail. This worrying statistic suggests the need for stronger support and education of couples who are creating blended or step families.

For example, blended and step families are built upon experiences of grief and loss, and each family member will develop different coping strategies to deal with so much change.

Issues such as divided loyalties, different parenting styles, discipline, former partners, finances, extended family contact and varying expectations are some of the factors that need careful and conscious navigation.

Re-partnering with children needs to be taken slowly; rushing or forcing ‘the new family’ usually doesn’t work out well. However, research also indicates the step parent-child bond can have a positive impact on the child’s self concept and well being into adulthood.

Seeking counselling to assist you and other family members in finding useful strategies, roles, insights and behaviours is well worth pursuing in order to create a healthy, functional blended family.