There is an art to Blending Families
Most couples seeking to blend a new family are wanting to make this family what the last one was not; a family that is calm, respectful, and loving toward one another. Maybe the family outings prior to the wedding were fairly peaceful and the kids seemed to get along. Then the wedding day comes and everything has changed.
Where there was peace and fun there is now arguing, jealously, favoritism, anger, and resentment. What happened?
This is a typical experience for a new blended family.
If you are contemplating blending a family, you need to become aware of the many hidden mind fields in every blended family, and develop skills to neutralize them before they explode. Some typical mind fields are:
- A new sibling order (the oldest may no longer be the oldest)
- The step parent will naturally favor their child over the step child and it is impossible to prevent such feelings
- No two adults share exact values - and the children will recognize their parent has changed and blame it on the step parent.
- Most kids live part-time with another parent who may undermine what you are trying to accomplish in your new family
Some tools or skills needed to successfully blend a family are:
- A shared view of parenting styles.
- A strategy for discipline that is shared by both parents.
- New communicating skills aimed helping children who feel a loss of importance in the family.
- How to implement new house rules.
- How to hold a family meeting (much more important in a blended family).
Here a a few suggestions if you are planning to start or are in a blended family.
- Read all you can about blended families (the web is a great place to start). But reading will just give you head knowledge, you also need to work through much that you learn. So...
- Join a support group, many local churches have Blended Family Groups.
- Make an appointment with a counselor who understands blended family dynamics.
- Ultimately make a plan which addresses the most likely problems you will face.