5 Things I Wish I Had Known Prior to Blending My Family
In today’s age, there are a lot of divorcees finding love again and people are choosing to place their desires for a successful career before marriage. Naturally, the prevalence of blended families is becoming increasingly popular.
If you are considering blending your family, ask yourself if you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that everyone in the family is prepared? After all, this is the coming together of already established families. Please try to remember that even though you have found love and are now head over heels, your child may not feel the same. No one can tell you what to expect during major changes in your life. Everyone’s experiences are different.
I feel it’s imperative to consider some key points to help safeguard your newly blended family. Here are a few things to ponder:
- In addition to pre-marital counseling, you may want to consider some pre-family counseling. It doesn’t have to be stark and intense. Some ice-breakers and some get-to-know-you exercises would help, too. Allow all family members the opportunity to speak and to listen to professional advisors and each other as you talk about the expectations of one another. As with anything in life, unmet expectations lead to anxiety and frustration; which can lead to trouble in an already vulnerable family.
- Spend as much time as you can together, allowing the children and future step-parent a sneak preview of each other. Then, make sure that your child spends time with the step-parent WITHOUT you. It’s just as important to observe how the child and step-parent interact when you’re around, as it is equally important for them to also establish a bond without your presence. When there are children from both sides involved, let them bond on their own. Do not force this, just let it happen naturally.
- Do not try to force child and step-parent into any type of situation, especially if you are trying to create some type of manufactured bond between the two. The facade of a perfect family union is most desirable. But truth be told, it’s just unnatural. It is already an awkward situation to begin a new life with a person that was not a part of your “plan.” Then, to try to force the child to perhaps call the step-parent Mom or Dad is overkill. Even if your child insists on doing so, please talk about what labels and names you’re all comfortable with.
- Please never speak ill of the child’s biological parent or allow your new spouse to do so, especially in front of the kids. This is a BIG no-no, for obvious reasons!
- Set boundaries regarding how, and IF you will even allow the step-parent to discipline the child. Knowing and establishing this from day one will be extremely helpful. Once you have established this, make sure that the child knows what the step-parent’s role is in parenting.
Blended family in the truest sense of the word, is one of the hardest things you will ever do. But, when you have found your mate and included God into the fold, the union of your newly structured family can be a blessing. It just has to be nurtured and handled with transparency, genuine love, lots of patience and unlimited understanding.I wish I had known these things ahead of time, but hey, you live and you learn, right? I hope this helps you in some way.
BMWK, do you have any advice for anyone blending their families?
Please click the link to see more articles and tips from Blended Families Week.