Thursday, July 07, 2022

How To Thrive As A Blended Family



Not one of us would have imagined ourselves being a blended family. It's hard to navigate dating, marriage, and children without adding in other people's kids. But it's not impossible. A blended family can be just as healthy and happy as any other family.

Ways on how to thrive as a blended family:
Don't let pride get in the way of compromise
A lot of insecurities and jealousy will surface when you first start dating someone with kids—especially if the kids have been with their mother through most of their lives. Understand that the most challenging part for you will be the first few months, so try to cut yourself some slack.
Figure out what is fair for everyone involved
Find ways to be together as a family that won't stress the children out. For example, don't schedule a weekly date night with every adult in the unit—this would wear the kids down. It's hard enough for them to deal with their parents' relationship; they don't have to deal with their parents' romantic relationship.
Online therapy
We go through a ton of issues in a blended family. It can become competitive, and that can be hard on your relationship. Plus, there are a lot of things that you don't have time to sit down and have a conversation about. Online therapy is the way to go for us. We all get weekly psychotherapy sessions on Skype together, so we do all our talking in real life. This is much better for our kids than having Mommy and Daddy fight for attention all week.
Be patient with your partner's bad days—and vice versa
This can get frustrating because those little moments seem like a bigger deal than they are. Blended families have their own unique set of stressors that can put on a massive spotlight on a small thing. For example, when one person needs to be away from their partner's kids for a few hours, it can be challenging for the rest of the family to handle.
Recognise your strengths and weaknesses as parents
We do this to see how well we communicate with each other and the kids. It's critical that if you're going to be a step-parent, you get a clear idea of the expectations and how they should be executed. The same goes for the children—they need to know where they stand in their new family unit. If you don't recognize your parenting strengths and weaknesses, you can cause problems for yourself down the road.
It's okay to disagree
Nothing is set in stone, and everyone has different parenting styles for different situations. To be fair to each other, you need to encourage the children to express themselves. They need to know that their parents will always listen, and by voicing concerns and opinions, they'll get the chance to become more independent. However, this does not mean you should agree with everything they say or do (especially if it's wrong or harmful).
Maintain your own identity, and don't lose yourself
This is super important when entering into a relationship with a blended family. You might find yourself prioritizing parenting over your own needs, which is perfectly fine—but don't let it become an issue. See how much you can give while still maintaining your individuality.
Have fun
Blended families have it hard sometimes, but if you have any personal hobbies that don't include being there for the kids, try to do them as often as possible! It's a great way to relieve stress and bond together as a family. For example, we all love to paint together. We do it every other weekend, and it's an excellent way to get to know each other and let loose.
You're not only partners now—you're also friends
If you want your relationship to last, you will need a strong friendship. If you don't have that, it's time to find and nurture it. You will need each other to figure out your new family dynamic and maximize the children's happiness.
Don't be nervous if you're starting to date and get married
But if you've been going together for a while, communicate how committed you are. If you work together, you must know your boundaries and expectations. If there's anything that worries you, something that you want someone else to take care of so that your relationship can grow stronger, talk about it!
Stay close with your friends
This is especially important if you're a blended family. When you get stuck in the "blending-family bubble," it can do a number on your friendships, and that's not what any of you want. You want your relationships with friends to be strong when you move into a new neighborhood—you want to maintain those relationships and not compromise them by changing your priorities.
Speak up when something bothers you
If something bothers you, don't be afraid to say so. It's okay to get upset as long as you're respectful and you can stay calm. We've had disagreements before, but dealing with them has strengthened our relationship. Misunderstandings happen in any relationship, but how we deal with them makes or breaks the connection.
Be open to suggestions but don't go too far
If you're building a family together, it's best to know what everyone else wants out of life and how they feel about certain things. Have a discussion, and try to agree on a final decision you can both be happy with. But don't force each other to do things you don't want to do; if it's not for the betterment of the family, let it go—and don't get upset.
Blended families are a beautiful thing when they're done right. It can be challenging, but if you work together and stay positive, there's nothing you and your blended family can't work through.
Both partners need to understand that the parenting roles will be split up as much as possible, which will help everyone function better in their own lives. This means that each parent needs to respect the other's preferences and do everything they can to fulfill the other parent's role of being a good parent.


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