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ABC6: Blended Families

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With about half of marriages ending in divorce, the blended family is very common. Often children from one relationship are finding themselves sharing bedrooms, bathrooms, play space, and kitchen tables with children from another relationship.

There are certainly challenges when it comes to becoming a blended family. OhioHealth psychiatrist Dr. Megan Schabbing says making sure the kids are front and center with communication really gets families off on the right foot.

"It may be a step-parent, it may be a same sex partner, so I think the really important thing is to focus on the child and the child's needs," Dr. Schabbing said.

One of the biggest challenges can be discipline. When the new parent has to make decisions on h
ow to best discipline a child from the other side of the relationship, it can be tough not only on the adult, but confusing for the child.

Dr. Schabbing says each adult will bring a different style and technique to the table. The hope is that moms and dads will find something that works for the betterment of the entire family unit for best outcomes.

"If there's a solid system in place already for that child from the pre-existing biological parent it's important to provide some kind of consistency," said Dr. Schabbing.

Dr. Schabbing says the trust factor is one of the most important. Once that happens, some of those walls that might be there initially will start to be broken down, and you can see very big steps together.

"Building a sibling relationship and extended family relationships if the child feels secure with the biological parent then it's going to be a smoother

Dr. Schabbing says it's important to keep the discussions open and fluid and also to have daily check-in points to make sure everyone is doing well to help avoid any behavioral issues.

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