Blended parenting, anyone?

Apparently the term blended parenting refers to couple’s who are together, either in a relationship or marriage, and both parties have kids from previous relationships. The dynamics of managing the relationship together with the responsibilities of parenting these children who are not of your gene pool are decidedly different than those for handling your own kids.
Most single-with-kids parents who date, the responsible ones anyway, know that you don’t introduce the kids until you’re ready to swop bodily fluids. The time between meeting your new stukkie and allowing that to happen varies from one person to the next. There very good reasons why you should not go all the way in your new relationship until you’ve met the kids.

Kids: Blessings or baggage?
Kids can be charming, polite and respectful, or they may come with huge baggage and drama, especially if they are the survivors of a treacherous break-up or divorce; this will definitely affect your relationship.

A good single-dad mate of mine recently related an incident where his partner’s teenage son, who has been raised by mommy-dearest alone, has the fascinating habit of being totally at ease about plonking his scaly butt down between then while they’re wanting to cuddle or chill on the couch or even in bed. Then the scaly mommy’s boy sulks and demands attention from mom. And mom thinks my mate is unreasonable and weird for finding this behaviour odd!

I too have had the sobering experience of enjoying a few dates with a particular single mom who was the epitome of Mother Theresa in the language department. However, meeting her three teen daughters suddenly exposed how and where most of the civilized world’s foulest profanities originated.

Break-up hangovers
Point is, our kids are raised according to our values and when they are big enough to be influenced by outside parties it’s up to us to encourage or reject certain behavioural habits they may have picked up along the way. Most single parents suffer from some kind of permanent guilt trip because of their single parent status and often let their kids get away with the kind of murder not often allowed in dual partner relationships.

This makes it particularly challenging when becoming involved with a partner who has kids from a previous relationship. The rules are different to dating someone with no kids. Priorities with regards to who comes first, the relationship or the kid, becomes an emotional roller coaster which needs to be tamed and stabilized for the relationship to have any real chance of surviving.

Join my guests and I on Saturday 12 November 2011 at 21:00 on Who’s Your Daddy, on DSTV Mindset Channel 319, where we will try to understand the dynamics of relationships with partners with kids from previous relationships. Come find out how to make it work!

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Have you ever struggled with blended parenting? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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