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Blending Families

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Title: Blending Families


1
Blending Families!
  • Sounds So Simple - But Is It?

2
  • Mine Yours and Ours. Remember the old movie? It
    was a comedy. In real life, mine yours and ours
    is a very serious matter. Almost half of the
    marriages today involve kids. His kids, her kids
    or both. When a new family is created by marriage
    the biological and the step parents have many
    unanswered questions, many unattended to
    concerns, many fears and the knowledge and
    preparedness to do all within their powers to
    ensure a happy blended family where the kids know
    they belong and are loved and wanted.

3
  • How do we ensure that our family will indeed
    become blended? You may start with the
    preparation for, and duties at the wedding.
    Involve all the kids and get them as excited as
    you and your future spouse are.

4
  • At the wedding ceremony exchange family wedding
    vows. Rather than vows only between bride and
    groom, family Wedding vows include all family
    members. That is, the bride, the groom and the
    children. Right after the vows exchange and after
    you exchange gifts, welcome each child to the
    family with a special gift of jewelry. This may
    follow by a FAMILY unity candle ceremony.

5
  • After the wedding, the most important thing is to
    put your marital relationship first as your
    priority and to stand together regarding rules of
    the household with all of your kids. In each of
    the following situations this may be easier said
    than done.

6
Following are a few scenarios for you to consider.
  • All the kids live with you,
  • Your kids live with you while your spouse's kids
    only visit,
  • Your spouse's kids live with you while your kids
    only visit, or
  • you have split custody with the other biological
    parents,
  • The other biological parent(s) is/are single
  • The other biological parent(s) is/are married.

In the latter, most severe situation, your kids
would have up to 6 adults with different ideas
regarding child rearing and discipline, telling
them what to do.
7
Potentially, you'll have to deal with
Their transitions to/from different households
with different house rules?
  • If there was a divorce, the possibility that the
    "other parent" incites the kids against you
    and/or your spouse.
  • If there was death, kids' anger at the parent who
    "left them" and anger at "that Person" who "tries
    to take the place of / replace" the diseased
    parent.
  • Being unable or unwilling to compete with the
    "other parent" for affection, by lavishing the
    kids with gifts and "whatever they want" and
    "whatever they do is ok".

8
  • Kids do not need things, to know they are loved
    and wanted. Kids need a stable nurturing home
    where both parents work together as a parenting
    team and support each other's decisions
    especially regarding home rules, traditions and
    rituals.

9
  • The main issue for your family is to have both of
    you establish your household rules, traditions
    and rituals. Do so together and in agreement and
    include the kids, especially older kids in
    forming them.

10
  • Have a family meeting or a kitchen table
    discussion about what members of the family would
    like to do on a regular basis. You might be
    surprised what ideas come up. If reasonable, try
    these suggestions. Allowing kids to contribute
    will make it easier to enforce these household
    rules, traditions and rituals without the danger
    of being seen by the kids as demanding, tough or
    unreasonable.

11
  • Don't let your rules, traditions and rituals
    waiver, stand together and support each other in
    implementing them. However, remember that as
    children get older and situations change, rituals
    and traditions may need to be adjusted.

12
  • When actual discipline is needed it should first
    come from the child's own parent and not from the
    stepparent, though the stepparent needs to back
    up their spouse, thus establishing for the
    children a parental and family cohesiveness.

13
  • Your children need to see and experience the
    strength of your marital relationship, your
    commitment to each other and to them, and the
    strength and stability of your family. They need
    to regain the security of being loved and wanted.
    Security they lost when their biological parents
    divorced or in a case of a parent's death when
    that parent "left them".

14
  • When you re-marry you have high hopes and often
    see everything through rose-colored glasses. The
    truth is that your second marriage especially
    when either one or both of you have children, is
    much more challenging than the first. As a new
    family, you go through phases.

15
  • At first, you will experience "the honeymoon
    phase". This is when everyone is on their best
    behavior, excited, happy, giddy, maybe even
    showing off for one another.

16
  • Then comes the second phase, the "honeymoon is
    over phase". This is when reality sets in and
    members of the blended family begin to realize
    that they don't like something about this one or
    are jealous of that one or are uncomfortable
    with... and on and on.

17
  • Be prepared for the "honeymoon is over" phase and
    expect hurt feelings, acting out behaviors,
    tears, and anger.
  • Now, you are in a stepfamily, struggling for some
    sense of family identity. Don't despair. It is a
    normal progression when two families blend into
    one.

18
  • Realize that it takes time, patience,
    understanding, respect and a lot of love to
    instill a family cohesiveness and bring up
    self-assured, secure children. Give the kids all
    you have got. Make it a priority to always be
    involved in every aspect of the child's life and
    be there for him or her.

19
  • If the children are of school age, inquire about
    their day and help them with their schoolwork
    whenever it is needed. Better yet, encourage
    older children to help the younger ones with
    homework.

20
  • If you can spare the time volunteer to help in
    the kids classes and always make time to be there
    for school, sports, and other activities the kids
    participate in. Your involvement and the
    involvement of all kids in their siblings' life
    will eventually bring bonding and closeness. The
    results will be rewarding and you'll soon forget
    the difficult times.

21
  • It is very important that you let the children
    know right from the start that respect for both
    parents and all siblings is paramount. Yet, you
    must accept the fact that you may or may not be
    able to develop a parental bond with your
    stepchildren.

22
  • Let your relationship progress naturally. Do not
    force a parental relationship on them. Do all
    within your power to earn their respect. Having
    achieved this, you start your family blending on
    the right foot.

23
  • As you strive for a united family, set scheduled
    time for family togetherness. Whether you call it
    family night, family meeting, family chat, be
    sure that everyone is present and that everyone
    shares their experiences, and what is going on in
    their life inside and outside the home.
  • Let everyone talk about what is on his or her
    minds and how they feel, without being judged or
    reprimanded.

24
  • Keep it real simple and age appropriate but do
    establish open communications and let the kids
    know how you feel as well. Reassure the children,
    that this is what a family is and that in your
    family everyone does things for the others. Let
    them know that they are loved and that you care
    for them. Instill in them the realization that
    all you want is for them to grow up in a happy
    home and feel good about themselves and their
    family. Before long, the kids will look forward
    to this time together, as it becomes part of your
    established blended family ritual.

25
  • As important as family time is, make it clear
    that any child can come to you on a one on one
    whenever they feel the need or want to discuss or
    tell things in private.

26
  • Bear in mind that children have a past. They also
    have feelings. If these feelings are stifled,
    children may feel that they are being forced into
    a "new" family to replace their "old" family.
    This in turn will bring forth resentment, anger,
    frustration and hurt. Therefore, it is important
    that the children understand that they are
    allowed to hang onto the memories of their
    previous family, remember them with joy, feel
    happy about those times that came before or sad
    that they are no more, and know that it is "OK"
    to recall, remember and even share them aloud
    with each other. Through this sharing, and as
    they get older, they will begin to understand and
    realize that in the "new " family they are
    building new relationships and creating new
    memories, not replacing those they already have.
    Let each child, if age and ability appropriate,
    an opportunity to contribute to the family. Give
    each child tasks and responsibilities. They may
    resent it at the moment but thank you as they
    reach adulthood.

27
  • So far all seems too serious. It is! But family
    life is not all seriousness! Make time for fun,
    and do so often. Children need individual
    attention. Give each child your undivided
    attention as individuals. Just you and that
    child. Get to know each child yours and your
    spouse's. Give each child opportunities to get to
    know you. With all that, do no ignore each other.
    It is just as important, that you make sure you
    set aside time for each other, to foster your
    love and marital relationship.

28
From www.morilybridal.coom
  • Maggie Sottero Felisha
  • Maggie Sottero Fiona
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