Daily Life of a Blended Family – Tips to Succeed
The daily life of a blended family can be challenging at times. In the beginning it may or may not be sunshine and rainbows but rest assured there will be moments that will test the boundaries of your love, of your bonds and your patience. Assumedly both parties can be civil and co-parent for the benefit of the children but this is not always the case for various reasons not to be judged. Obviously co-parenting makes managing a blended family much easier but in the case of parallel parenting there are ways to accomplish this and make daily life of a blended family easier on everybody in your family.
Blended families naturally have more challenges than the single family unit; there are at least two sets of families now involved, four if both parents remarry which is our case, or more if those new partners have previous partners and children. It can be complicated. The single most important thing to remember is that the children didn’t choose this life; making the transition as easy as possible on them will determine how smoothly things will run.
In the beginning my kids had a very hard time transitioning and with the environment of two very different homes. I sought out age appropriate books to help my kids accept the dissolve of the single family and later to learn how to accept a blended family situation when I was remarried 3 years after the divorce.
You cannot control how the other parent will choose to parent or whether or not they will be a positive role model but you can determine the morals and environment you will raise your children in on your time. Here are a few mindful tips to help ease your blended family daily life and make it a happy and loving one.
1. Focus on the positives. The more positive you are, the less problems and individual insecurities your children will have.
2. Remember the step-parent is not a replacement parent. How lucky are they to have more people to love and support them.
3. Spend quality individual time with each child, build that bond and keep it strong.
4. ALWAYS treat and love children equally. Spend time as a family regularly. This sounds like an obvious but is not always the case, sometimes not intentionally, in blended families; some parents favour their own children over their step-children. Children are very smart; they notice more than you would think.
5. Stand as a team unit and discipline together. This will ensure the children have no questions about the rules of your house or question each of your parenting decisions.
6. Create boundaries and stand by them. This can have to do with discipline, morals for your own household or boundaries for the other biological parent during your access time with your children.
7. Be consistant. I cannot stress this enough. Children need stability, even in the chaos blended families can create you can create a stable home by being consistant in your schedule, in your rules and discipline and in your treatment.
8. Be patient. Resistance can create problems bonding in a blended family but if you are consistant and patient, it will come.
9. Spend time as a couple. Do not forget to connect with each other; this will keep your love strong and show your children the importance of a good relationship.
10. LISTEN. Let your children vent if they need to but remember children have a different way of looking at things; their views of the situation aren’t always reality. They do not need feedback other than listening to their worries, giving them a hug/kiss, reminding them they are loved and that you are there to listen any time. Focus on your time together on your access time with your children and not the other parent.
There is not a set standard for families, as with single home families every blended family is different. Focus less on what you think society or the other parent expects from you and more on these tips and you will create a loving, happy home with less chaos and most everything else will fall into place.
This post was written in response to the Mom Central Blogger Grant Program Winter 2011 Recipient. I received notice of selection late March of this year at a time when our co-parenting situation was strained and parallel parenting had to be accepted with a heavy heart. I restrained from writing this post until I was far enough removed from the situation to remain with a positive outlook and learnings to pass along. I hope for the best for you all.