Making blended families work
Maintaining the bond and harmony in the family takes a lot of commitment, patience and hard work but when it comes to blending two once separate families together, it will certainly require a lot more work.
It’s important to have realistic expectations and the starting point is to know that it might take some more time, depending on the specific individuals, temperaments and circumstances involved. It might be hard in the beginning but with tenacity, understanding, and patience, a harmonious and happy blended family can be formed.
Everyone who hopes to make step-parenting or blended families work cannot afford to go this journey with unrealistic expectations. Knowing what to work on, what to wait for and probably what to fight for will go a really long way.
Don’t Force the “One Big Family”
For one who finds himself or herself thrust into the step-parent shoes by life and love, the real substance is forming individual relationships which should become more important than making a show to the world that everything’s fine. Learning to know who your step-children are individually is really important. It requires the sacrifice of making time out to understand them and coming to appreciate who they are outside the context of the family. As you put yourself out there trying to befriend them, they get to know you too, outside the information they’ve been supplied by your spouse. If a step-parent pursues this with love, humility and persistence, there’s always great hope for beautiful blended family relationships to emerge.
Find Support for Yourself; You Will Need it
Step-parenting, having to relate with kids who don’t like or want to know you orhaving your own kids leaving your home frequently to be with their daddy and mummy can be stressful. These, among other features of a blended family, will require you to find a support system. People willing to listen to you unburden your heart without judgement. People with whom you can cry, whine, say you’re tired and laugh are great stress relievers. A friend, a neighbour, a family member or support group will be a good respite from all your daily drama. The bond of your relationship with your spouse may not be able to handle all the pressure, no matter how strong.
In addition to this, having activities and hobbies that you can indulge in to blow off steam and feel refreshed will come in handy.
Respect Other Family Connections
In order to get the kind of honour and respect you want in the long-run, you must be the parent who respects your children’s connection to their mum or dad. If you want them to respect your new spouse or partner, it always helps when they see that you make effort to keep out bitterness or ridicule in your representation of their other parent,
As a step-parent, you must mind your business in matters relating to your step-kids relationship with their other parent. Unless there’s crime or threat to life involved, you need to be very respectful about getting involved in your step-children’s relationships with their parents. Don’t speak ill of their other parents. Don’t repeat the not-so-great or break-up stories you heard from your spouse or partner. When people, even children, sense that you respect them and others that matter to them, you’ll earn their respect.
Find Laughter and Common Ground
Laughter and play are age-old activities that work to ease tension, and break down communication barriers. Blended families can benefit much from finding activities that bring laughter and communication into the home.
Also spouse in the middle of step-parents and step-children will do well to promote activities that bring both sides together. Continuing with old rituals between parent and child without trying to inculcate new activities that also bring in your new spouse and/or step-kids in may not be the best. Sure, new couples in blended families still need their private couple time but they must be conscious about what they are trying to build. All-inclusive family time is also a priority.
Happy blended families are a reality for those who willing to work it out with love.