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Psychologist reveals 3 tips on how to navigate parenting with a new partner - and #1 is so important

 Psychologist reveals 3 tips on how to navigate parenting with a new partner - and #1 is so important

Psychologist reveals 3 tips on how to navigate parenting with a new partner - and #1 is so important© Getty Images

A psychologist has revealed how to best navigate parenting your kids with a new partner by using new research that highlights the most important elements for parents to consider when creating a blended family.

The topics of co-parenting and blended families have never been in the spotlight so much as over the past year. With celebrities from Princess Beatrice, who opened up about the struggles of navigating step-parenting, to everyone's favourite A-lister couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who are reportedly struggling to merge their families, candidly tearing down the image of the traditional nuclear brood. 

Now it's in the mainstream, tips and tricks on navigating co-parenting and step-parenting are more easily accessible than ever. And now, a phycologist has revealed the most important elements to consider when merging families with a new partner using research published this year in the Journal of Marriage and Family - and the insight is invaluable. 

Here are the expert's top three takeaways from the research...

1. Define the new parent's role within the family quickly  

Becoming a step-family isn't easy. The study's researchers found that, upon adding a new parent-figure into a family, the structure of the new blended group can feel unfamiliar at first as the new parent's role is largely undefined. 

Because of this, psychologist Mark Travers, writing in Forbes Magazine, recommends defining the new parent-figure's role within the family structure as quickly as possible. By openly addressing the new addition and creating a safe space for everyone to bond, children feel heard and prioritised throughout the change, without feeling forced to accept or bond unnaturally with the new parent. 

Helpful tips to better ease into the transition of becoming a step-family include making sure both the biological parent and the step-parent agree on a joint parenting style so as not to confuse the child or children, and to carve out quality time together in which to do a fun activity so you can bond without pressure. 

2. Make time for parent-child bonding, especially if you and your new partner plan to have another baby

While some research shows that a parent having another child with a step-parent can strengthen blended family bonds, the expert shares that it can also negatively impact parent-child relationships as parents' attentions are now divided between more kids. This is especially prevalent in families where step-children haven't had ample time to bond with their new role models. 

Because of this, Travers recommends to step-parents that they should carve out lots of quality time to spend with their step-children, planning fun activities such as family days out. He also encourages people to  support their partner, both emotionally and practically, to make sure they can also spend time with the kids, so everyone feels respected and loved. 

3. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! 

The third and final takeaway doesn't necessarily involve the children at all. When it comes to any type of parenting, whether it's step-parenting or co-parenting, the key is working as a team. According to the phycologist, children benefit tenfold from seeing the adults in their lives working together as unified team and it helps them to build healthy relationships with not only those parents, but other people they will meet throughout their lives.  

Story by Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse: Good To

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