Blending families - how to get it right

By Drum Digital
16 September 2014

How to work on successfully bringing your children and those of your partner into your new marriage.

Get professional support

The children may wonder what this means for them and how their lives may change. If they live with you, they might be concerned about how this new step-parent will affect their daily life.

Counselling forces the family to explore potential issues and come up with strategies in this regard.

Everything from decisions about discipline to finances, child support and college tuition are subjects on the table for discussion.

Make sure you and your partner are starting off on the same page from a parental perspective

Give the biological parent space

Children need to spend time with their biological parent without the new spouse on a regular basis.

This is important because kids need to continue to build a strong relationship with that parent.

Alone time with their biological parent is critical to their emotional well-being.

Develop a personal relationship

In order to build a friendship between the new spouse and the other spouse’s children they need to spend time without the biological parent’s presence.

Finding a shared interest or at a minimum trying to learn more about the child’s interests can help to build a connection.

This can help to eliminate the stress trying of force a child to like you just because of your new relationship. It takes time, effort and understanding to build a connection.

Don’t try to be the disciplinarian

That is a recipe for disaster and dysfunction in the family. The biological parent should be the primary disciplinarian for their children.

The new spouse’s role is to support the parent’s decisions. If you disagree, those conversations should occur when the children are not around.

Agree on a strategy for addressing issues and then support the decision completely.

Don’t bad mouth the parents – biological or not

Never say bad things about your new spouse’s ex. Speak forgiveness - live it, fall in love with it. Blending families is tough and someone’s feelings are often getting hurt.

Show compassion for their mom. The children may not mention it, but they will notice how you behave and react.

Remember that if your family isn’t blending the way you’d hoped, that is not the child’s fault. Kids are not messed up or broken after a divorce or end of a relationship. It’s the family relationship that is messed up or broken. Always remember that the other parent is their family as well.

-BLACK AND MARRIED WITH KIDS

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