The structure of the family has taken on new forms over the past couple decades. With divorce becoming more socially acceptable, there are more blended families in Illinois today than ever before. The legal issues concerning families are governed by family law and that includes issues surrounding stepparents who may find parenting in blended families a bit challenging, but it needn’t be.

Blended families can be perfectly healthy situations for children, especially when both their parents are happy with their new partners. When all involved are cordially with each other and put the children’s interests first, children can thrive with stepparents in their lives. But children are known to grasp changes slowly, so patience is important. Children need to feel safe and secure above all else. 

Children less than 10 years of age may adjust more easily to being in a blended family than older children might, while those between the ages of 10 and 14 might have the most difficulty. Older teens are starting to have their own lives and might be less inclined to spend much time with either parent. In any case, a set of rules might help everyone adjust to a new situation — one that involves respect, mutual understanding and clear-cut boundaries.

Changes are never easy on a child. When parents divorce and each remarries, having something already in place such as a co-parenting plan may help a child to process these changes. An Illinois family law attorney can work with a client to iron out those issues that may be problematic. There are always resources available under family law when it comes to helping children and a lawyer can help a client to access them.