If you and your new husband have visions of a Brady Bunch style blended family when you join your two families after your marriage, you may be in for a surprise. The reality of the situation is that your new life together will be rewarding and a very challenging experience for all of you.

Everything may not start out as peachy as you had envisioned, but with some love, patience, dedication, and hope, your blended family will soon begin to feel comfortable with each other and function well as a family together.

When each partner has children that are a part of a new marriage, those relationships tend to receive a lot of focus from the newlyweds. The key is to not get overwhelmed and realize there are many ways you can help bring some harmony to your new bunch and ensure everyone can live happily ever after…at least every now and then.

First, it is important for parents and step-parents to remember that kids have a hard time accepting a parent’s new spouse because, let’s face it, every blended family is created from a loss – either from a divorce, death, or other abandonment issue. No blended family has a chance of being successful without acknowledging the grief the children have experienced. Addressing these issues in the beginning work wonders with the kid’s emotions, allowing them to grieve for their loss so they can move on and actually be open to accepting these new relationships.

The new couple also needs to remember that their love is what ultimately brought them together and they need to focus on building a strong marital bond between them. This forms the foundation and sets the tone for the new family. When the children see the love, respect, and open communication between the two of you, this will give them the sense of security they need to feel good about themselves in the new relationship and hopefully they will begin to model these qualities.

As the two of you merge your families, differences in your styles of parenting, discipline, and lifestyle, are noticeable and frustrating to children. Make efforts to come together and hold all of the children to the same rules, chores, and disciplinary actions so that you indicate to the kids that you are both on the same page. Often when kids see that you are on their side and can feel your emotional support for them, they will come around and take the “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude, which is the starting point for a healthy new family life together.