Blended Family Week: 10 Tips to Make Your Blended Family Work For You

BY: - 18 Sep '14 | Blended Families

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Remember the Brady Bunch?  When the show came on it played that much too familiar song that went something like… “Here’s a story of a lovely lady… and a man named Brady … and that’s the way they ALL became the Brady Bunch… ” In that perfect square with that perfect house and all six kids coming together in harmony.

Every episode ended in a resolution to whatever problem went on for that day.  No matter what, the Brady’s worked it out didn’t they?

And so my fantasy perception of the blended family began.  Little did I know that REAL blended families come with problems and issues, and other parents, and extended family and non biological kids, etc.  After all, the Brady’s never seemed to worry about finances, custody, child support or bitter ex’s did they?  I never saw Marsha, Jan and Cindy’s real father.  They rarely even spoke of him or Peter, Greg and Bobby’s mother.  Were they dead?  Who knows.  What we know now is that blended families are a lot more complex than we ever imagined.

Almost 2,100 blended families form in the United States every day and 68% of re-marriages involve children from prior marriages according to TheBondedFamily.com

Blended families come with a lot of layers and its not gonna be a “Brady” experience for everyone. One of the main things that I think that should be the focus when families connect themselves together through marriage are the kids.  The children are going to be the only people in the whole situation who have no choice.  They don’t get to choose who their mom or dad marries.  They don’t get to choose the children that come along with that marriage.

When my husband and I chose to blend our families we were hoping it would be a piece of cake, but realized that we had to put in work.  All we were certain of is that we loved each other and that we wanted it to work.  My youngest son adapted pretty quickly to my new marriage and our new life in a different state and was comfortable from the beginning, but my oldest son…not so much.  For him it took awhile.  What we understand now is that younger children do adapt better in these situations.  Here are 3 of the steps that we took for our blended family.

Decide on what the child should call the new parent

I don’t think you should force a kid to call another man/woman by mom/dad.  If everyone is cool with it, then by all means make it happen.  We gave ours a choice.  One son calls my husband dad sometimes.  The other refers to him as dad, but calls him by his nickname that we all use.  Not a big issue for us.

Have a conversation with the child’s other parent

My husband and my sons father get along great.  I believe that is because they had a necessary conversation about discipline, respect and expectations for our son in the beginning.  They were on the same page so there was never any drama.  Allow the other parent to have some say so.  Discuss it and work it out no matter what.

Make your child understand that the new parent has authority

Sometimes as single parents we may tend to be a little more lenient on our kids.  Or maybe you are more strict.  When a new parent comes in some kids may think of them more as a friend/enemy but not as an authority figure.  Younger children adapt easier than older ones but if you let them know upfront the adjustment will be easier.

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About the author

Stacey Taylor wrote 51 articles on this blog.

Stacey Taylor aka "The SistahChick" is the 40+ SuperChick behind TheSistahCafe.com, Sistah Buttah, and OurNaturalKids.ning.com. She is a writer, blogger and Social Media Maven with a passion for natural hair and her community. Through her online presence she promotes generational self acceptance for women & children alike. Since 2009 Stacey has used her blog to share her love for Atlanta's thriving social scene, natural hair and her successful life as a wife, mother & entrepreneur. Stacey is an Indiana native currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and kids.

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3 WordPress comments on “Blended Family Week: 10 Tips to Make Your Blended Family Work For You

  1. Pingback: Blended Family Week: 10 Tips to Make Your Blended Family Work For You | KCEP-FM

  2. Queenae

    I was a stepmother for 16 years (since she was 4 months old) and still consider myself so, she is now 19 years old. I am a divorced from her father and we have maintained our relationship. I struggled while married with being in a blended family. Mainly because it seemed that my stepdaughter could do no wrong in everyone’s eyes but I was always accused of being mean and treating her bad which was FAR from the truth. Truthfully she was a typical child, however after about 10 years deep, I realized that it was my relationship with my husband that was “off” and “terrible” that caused us so much struggle. These tips are very useful and I’m glad that I figured it out…eventually. I now know what I need for my future relationship with my own kids in a Blended Family. We need to be on the same page as a couple. I wrote a fiction novel (“Reality Check:Stepmother Chronicles”) based off of my experience (and of other women I know) and it was so therapeutic for me. I was blessed with a beautiful daughter and we interchangeably refer to each other as stepmom/stepdaughter and mom/daughter. I never made her call me mom, it was her choice. Its a choice to love each other in a blended family. It takes a conscious effort and prayer. I’m thankful for the experience and with the rate families are growing today, I am praying that blended families become stronger and remain forever families.

  3. anonymous stepmother

    Why is it so terrible to refer to your spouses child as your “stepchild”?
    He had a child before we married and we had two children together. It is obvious I am not her mother and she doesn’t consider me her mother. I am always there to pray and give advice but that’s about all. I grew up with step parents and the worse part was my biological parents trying to force the relationship.

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Blend Family Week: 3 Phrases to Never Say to a Blended Family

BY: - 19 Sep '14 | Blended Families

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I grew up in a blended family due to my parents marrying one another after previous marriages, then having me. They both had children from their previous marriage, which one, my older brother, lived with us. My older brother and I are literally night and day. He is 6’4, 250 lbs, and I am 5’7 140 lbs. It was very evident when you saw us together that we weren’t full blood brothers, but the fact is, I never saw or considered my brother my step brother. We would hear many phrases that discouraged us from seeing one another as brothers versus stepbrothers. Here are 3 phrases to never say to blended families.

Your children don’t look alike. My little sister and I look like twins, but then my older brother looked nothing like us. I remember the moments when people would say to my parents or even to us, “You all look different”. It made us look at our brother like he wasn’t one of us. The goal of blended families is to become one by celebrating the similarities not the differences.

Do your children ever see their “real” parent? My brother’s dad wasn’t in his life, so my dad treated my brother as he was his blood son.  Just because you can have a baby doesn’t make you a “real” parent.  The insinuation that a step parent isn’t as legitimate as a biological parent is disheartening.  There are many step parents taking full responsibility for the role they play in their step children’s lives. Parenting is a commitment that requires sacrifice, love, and time. From our view, my dad was just as much as his, which made him his real parent.

Are you step siblings or half siblings? Technically, a step sibling is one who is joined by marriage with no blood relation, and a half siblings shares one parent biologically. In a blended family you don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t belong so the term step or half can create a divide between two people you want to see accept and embrace one another. When people would ask me growing up, “Oh, he is your step brother?” I would quickly reply back with, “No, he is my brother”.

Blended families are beautiful, but they do require those on the outside of the family to better understand the dynamics in order to promote unity. My parents made it a rule in our home not to use any negative phrases that would cause division among us. Since we had to watch what words we used to one another we surely didn’t want to hear it from others.

BMWK: Have you ever heard these phrases before? How did you respond?

It’s Blended Families Week on the site.  Please click here for more articles and resources.

About the author

Jamal Miller wrote 84 articles on this blog.

Jamal Miller is the Co-Founder of Married and Young.com, a community committed to doing relationships God’s way, alongside his wife Natasha Miller. He has been involved in Pastoral Ministry for over 8 years, graduating from Christ for the Nations Institute with his Practical Theology Degree and Ecclesia College with his Bachelors in Christian Leadership. His passion for marriage and healthy relationships has influenced thousands to do it God’s way! He is the author of "25 Ways to Prepare for Marriage Other than Dating". Jamal and Natasha reside in Chicago, IL.

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