How do I create peace in my blended family?

Okay, so you've remarried, blended your families, you and your spouse adore each other, but
your kids not so much. Well, we're going to talk about that today on tips on teens. My name is Kent
Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids,
teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and the
nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills,
California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions.
Let's jump into today's. Hi, Kent. I'm a mom in a blended family. I got remarried about a year
ago, and it's not going well with our kids. I have an eleven year old daughter and my new husband
has two sons, 13 and 16. The eleven year old and the 13 year old are always getting into it, and
it's creating a lot of tension around our house. My husband and I try to deal with everything
together to be a united front, but it seems like the

animosity between the kids is not going away. What can we do? I'm glad you're asking because
a lot of people have this question. I deal with this a lot in my practice. It's quite common, unfortunately,
but there's ways to approach it. First things you want to answer is, are you and your spouse setting
the example of how you communicate with each other? Are you walking the walk? Are you also treating
the step kids, your step kids, his stepkid? Are you all treating each other with respect, kindness,
fairness, compassion, empathy? Are you walking that walk and showing that that's how you want
to set the example? If you're not, you could be setting an example of why they want to attack each
other. There could be a lot of reasons why they're attacking each other. Could be that they're
still not really ready for this blended, whole blended family thing. You may be happy, the older
son, 16 year old may be fine. He may be dealing with his own thing. But for some reason, the eleven
year old, 13 year old, they're not liking it for whatever reason. It could be that they're resenting the
whole process. Could be they're resenting the one person. It could be that one of them is just
really annoying. 13 year old boys, eleven year old girls, not the easiest people to get along
with sometimes. So it could just be a matter of where they are in their lives too. But again, you
want to explore, is there something else more deep going on? Is there some resentment towards
the blended family? Is there feeling a need that they need to defend the other parent who's not
in this blended family? So if you're the mom, your daughter's biological father, is there a
need to defend him by not liking the brothers, for example? There could be a lot of different
things going on. Also another thing to think about. Do they kind of have a crush on each other
in some way? I know that's kind of icky for you to think about, but eleven year olds, 13 year olds,
they will have crushes and bring a crush into the house

may be really uncomfortable. So instead of liking that person, they reject that person. I'm
not saying it's happening, but it is one possibility. Other things you can do to help is make
sure you're not picking sides if they're going at it. And let's say the 13 year old says some really
mean things to the eleven year old that's your daughter and you turn into mama bear. That's not
helping the situation. That is throwing gasoline on the flames. You have to remember that kids
are going to say some mean things to each other and it's not personal against you and take some
time to relax, stay calm. I'm not saying you condone the name calling, but stay calm. You getting
reactive. Only feeds the fire. And make sure that also those kids are not going to hear your input
until they're calm. So you may need to separate them and then talk to them individually. Not
from a place of you need to own up to what you did. Mr, but more about, hey, how are you feeling?
What's concerning because underneath that

attack is some insecurity. There's some fear, there's some pain, there's some worry there
that's not being addressed and you want to make sure that's being addressed and there's a safe
place to address that. If you feel like you and your husband are not the safe places for that,
look into getting a therapist for that. Again, if it's just one kid who's really driving this
train, maybe the 13 year old is like, hey, I'm fine, I'm cool. But the eleven year old is just going
after him. It's important to help her through that. Or the 13 year old help him through that.
Maybe getting a therapist for them to talk through this is important. Also, if you can try to
organize family activities where everyone's working together, everyone's on the same team,
get cooperative board games, go to where you guys have to rely on each other instead of competing.
Now they're relying on each other. Maybe it's a family art project. Not saying this is foolproof
because it's not. And I get it. An escape room. They're

really popular right now. Everyone has to work together, help them find some common ground.
There's no easy one way for this. Every family is going to be different and approaching this
is going to be different for every family. But keeping in mind what could be causing the animosity,
how to help bridge the gap, how to help build empathy and compassion, don't come down with the
hammer. The hammer is just going to make things worse. And yeah, so that's kind of the basics
of how I'd approach this. Love to talk more about this if I had more information. Obviously you
can always give me a call here at Teen Therapy Center. If you have a question you'd like us to answer,
I'd be happy to answer them here on Tips on Teens. Just email us at
or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Again. My name is
Kent Toussaint from Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling. And I'll see you next
week, next Wednesday at noon on Tips on

Teens, on Facebook live. Bye.

Life in the blender

If your blended family isn’t blending so well, there are a few basic tips for achieving harmony. Obviously every family is different, so what works for some might not be right for others.

Here are some basics for achieving peace in a blended family:

Rule #1: Make sure that you’re setting the right example! Are you and your new spouse treating each other and your new family members with kindness, empathy and respect? The example you set is a powerful one, and your children will emulate it.

Rule #2: Make sure you’re not picking sides in disputes between children in a blended family. Now that your parenting someone else’s kid in addition to your own, you have to remember to be fair and evenhanded.

Rule #3: Don’t escalate disputes by getting angry. This only makes things worse. You have to stay calm, listen and show empathy.

And of course, there’s always therapy…

If you’re experiencing friction and discord in your new blended family, you have to try to figure out what the underlying cause is, and you can only do it if you’re at your best. Of course, therapy can help too. There’s a lot to say about the topic, and we start the conversation out in this week’s Tips On Teens:

“Hi Kent. I’m a mom in a blended family. I got remarried about a year ago, and it’s not going well with our kids. I have an 11 year old daughter, and my new husband has two sons, 13 and 16. The 11 year old and the 13 year old are always getting into it, and it’s creating a lot of tension around our house. My husband and I try to deal with everything together to be a united front, but it seems like the animosity between the kids is not going away. What can we do?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.