Dealing with Divorce

Sofia is an 18 year old from Los Angeles, CA.  She is attending the University of Colorado at Boulder and is studying to be a clinical psychologist and loves to go snowboarding!

As if dealing with parents getting divorced isn’t enough, what if you were forced to deal with an entire new family, with kids your age, or at least around your age? What do you do? How do you act? Where do you even begin? Well, this article will be able to help clear up the common confusions and misconceptions about living a new life with new people.

When starting off living with a new step-parent and/or new stepsiblings there a few things to remember that will making living with new people a lot easier. First off, assuming that your new life is going to be “miserable and terrible” try looking into things with an optimistic perspective.  True it is, things are easier said than done, but it is always easier when you catch yourself having pessimistic thoughts and try to reverse them.  This way, you will be much happier going into the situation, and chances are, your new family will react positively to your mood as well.  However, it is no secret that new families do not always get along. If you find that you are fighting more than often with your new siblings or step-parent, there are several things you can try to mend the situation. One thing you can try is talking it out with the person you are having conflicts with; you both have things to say about the situation and odds are the other person would like to voice those feelings, and you are the first step to fixing the conflict. Another thing you can try is removing yourself from the situation: if you constantly butt heads with this other person and talking it out just isn’t working, then take a break, spend time by yourself in your room, or take a walk. Once you’ve had time to cool off, then you can spend time trying to mend the situation.

Another thing that will help living with new step-siblings is to find things that you have in common with them.  If there are new kids that are around your age, try to find things that you all like. Once you find things in common, for example playing sports, grab a ball and a bat or a soccer ball and go to the park for some ultimate bonding time.  Or encourage your mom or dad to arrange a family day doing something that involves the participation of the whole family or simply something that involves the entire family.  Taking a family road trip is a good idea, since everyone has to be in the car together for extended periods of time; it’s a good way to get to know each other, and families can be brought much closer with something as simple as trivia games and the like—try pairing kids from different sides of the families onto the same team to encourage working together, thus forming new bonds.

At the end of the day, merging families is no easy task, especially when children are involved.  The most important thing to remember is trying to approach conflicting situations calmly and to not take sides.  Allowing for both sides to present their arguments and providing a compromise when all has been said is likely to produce the best results.  Doing family activities together is sure to strengthen relationships between children who are new to having siblings and will allow for everyone to get along and to find things in common.  Remember, going into this new situation with a pessimistic view will not allow for a healthy family relationship, so take things one day at a time, and try to keep in mind, that everyone is dealing with these changes in different ways.


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One Response to “Dealing with Divorce”

  1. Amy
    April 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I appreciate the positive perspectives in this article. Adjusting to a blended family is just that – an adjustment *and* attitude is everything. Well done. :)

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