Blending families can be tough. One of the toughest things about blending a family is blending the kids and step parents. First, you find a new amazing spouse to marry after a poor turn of events in a previous marriage. Everything is bliss… until one day when you realize your kids don’t exactly love each other or your spouse as much as you love each other. Here are some tips we have found helpful in blending our families. It’s not always an easy road, but it’s easier for us than our first marriages by leaps and bounds which I know is not always true for everyone.
Have a bi-monthly family council. We do this on Sundays twice a month when we have my husband's kids. It allows for the children to tell us about what is going on in their lives, their wins, their struggles and what they are looking forward to. It allows us to honor their experience in our blended family. One of my favorite questions to ask each child is “What makes you feel loved in our family?”
- Have a family mission statement. This is something we are working on right now. We decided we all have things we value in life, We want to share these core values with each other and blend them all into one mission statement for our family so that everyone feels important, valued, and heard.
- Allow the biological parent to do the discipline. We have found this keeps pressure off the Bonus Parent and allows for that relationship to be one that is kept more formal. Nothing is more helpful to me than when my husband allows me to handle a situation where my child needs direction or discipline.
- Do fun things together but also allow the parent who doesn’t have their kids full time to have one on one time with them. This has been just as important as our family time together. We definitely do things as a family as often as possible. But I make sure my husband has space to take his daughters on dates and some guy time with his son.
- Have the same rules. You can’t have different rules in your home for different families. If social media isn’t allowed for your kids until a certain age, then it should be the same for all of the kids in the blended family, even if their rules are different in their main home. Being divided will only cause conflict. So make sure you and your spouse have a good, united agreement on what your family decides and why it’s important to follow your rules as a blended family.
- Last but certainly not least, have flexibility and patience. Nothing is more awkward for a child than to have to live with a new parent that isn’t their biological or adoptive parent. They won’t be perfect, so give them the unconditional love they deserve and so need during this time. Let love abound, it will eventually all work out.
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