I love that BMWK has dedicated an entire month to blended families. According to smart stepfamilies.com, 40 percent of married couples with children are actually blended families. Dedicating a week to discuss it just makes sense.
I personally don’t know life outside of a blended family. My parents ended their relationship very early, and my dad married and began a new family. My mom is married, and her husband has two children. My feeling like an outsider wasn’t really anyone’s fault.
My dad would pick me up on weekends to spend time with his family, but it was sometimes awkward for me; I didn’t quite know how I fit. I sometimes felt I was being disloyal to my mom if I enjoyed myself too much. So I observed. I observed my dad and stepmom, my mom and my dad, and my dad and his other children. You really learn a lot when you pay attention. Even when my parents didn’t know they were teaching, they were and here’s what I learned about blended families.
Friendship between parents is everything
My mom and dad are still friends to this day. They care about and support one another. They made sacrifices along the way for my benefit. The major one was to get over any hurt feelings that the relationship failed and focus on being good parents to me.
Adult conversations are just for adults
My parents did a great job of protecting all of their children from their adult feelings and drama. I’ve never heard them speak ill of one another. Nor did I hear my mom speak ill of my stepmother as I was growing up. I’m sure it was challenging in the beginning, however, they made it work.
Make sure all of the children feel special and included
My mom taught me this one specifically and continues to demonstrate it with her adult step-children. I observe how kind she is to them, and she goes out of her way to make sure both are comfortable and feel at home. It’s never a mine or his, but more a ours feel when we’re together.
The bond between the children is important
My siblings, on my dad’s side, have never made me feel less than their complete sister. We’ve never used “half-sister” or “half-brothers.” We’re sisters and brothers, and that’s it. Those relationships are so crucial, especially to those children who feel outside of the family. I’m grateful my parents encouraged those strong relationships.
Being in a blended family taught me about family, but also about life in general. There are successes and failures in our intimate relationships. But how we move forward, especially when children are involved, is key to the strength of that family and the future of that child.
BMWK, what lessons do you think you’re teaching your children about blended families?