You have always dreamed about having kids and being “one big happy family.” It finally did happen, only not in the traditional sense.
After a very unsatisfying and unhappy marriage, you divorced and moved on with your life. In time, you fell in love again and remarried, to a man with kids from a previous marriage. Instant family.
Since many remarriages include children from previous relationships, blended families or stepfamilies are as common as ever. But when families do blend, it is not always a smooth transition. And it can become quite frustrating when your new family doesn’t function like a well-oiled machine.
Blended families require adjustments from all parties involved. No matter how difficult or strained things can be in the beginning, with open communication, respect and plenty of patience, you can develop a powerful bond with your new stepchildren.
The Law Offices of Loomis and Greene, your divorce attorney in Loveland, offers tips for a successful blended marriage.
Defining a Blended Family
A blended family or stepfamily forms when two people get married and start a new life together with children from one or both of your previous relationships. Finding yourself in a blended family can be both challenging and rewarding.
You might have high expectations about how well the new changes will go down. You might also be worried about how the children will react to their new lives.
Talk With Others
You aren’t the first person to find yourself in a blended marriage, many people have done it before you and many with great success.
You might want to find somebody who has been a part of a blended family for a period of time. Ask them about stepfamily living and what works and what doesn’t work. Pick their brain to gather as much information as possible. Their successes and failures will help you be a better stepparent.
Keep It Real
You have a vision of a happy and fully-functioning family who get along well with each other and the skies are not cloudy all day.
While it helps to have happy thoughts about your blended family, you need to keep it real. The reality is that there will be struggles and there will be bumps in the road. Nothing is perfect in this world and it is important to remember that there will be problems that need to be worked out from time to time.
The Importance of Family Meals
There are never enough opportunities for the entire family to get together outside of the family meals. As time goes by, you will discover that your best conversations happen at the dinner table.
Family meals together are more about getting together than the actual food you eat. Having meals together builds safety, trust and a spirit of love. It is something that all family members can count on.
On the other side of the coin, family meals can be pretty intense if there is something going on. Hopefully, things will be discussed and ironed out while having dinner together.
The successes of a blended family won’t happen overnight. It will take time, months or years even. Everybody involved will be going through some major adjustments and this can be both scary and uncomfortable.
But someday, you will all look back and know that it was well worth it.
You Are Not a Replacement Parent
Chances are that your stepchildren already have a mom and a dad, they don’t need another. What they need is a friend who loves them, supports them and is someone they can always count on.
You are also not the dictator of the new regime. This is very tricky business because stepkids will often think of you as the new authoritarian in their lives.
Spouses Need To Be On the Same Page
It is very important that you and your spouse are on the same page. One great challenge blended families have is dealing with different rules in different households. There are plenty of issues that could present a problem, like bedtimes, discipline and expectations. It is very helpful for both parents to establish rules and have both parents help establish expectations.
Don’t spend too much time and what is not working and failures, focus on the positives. It is important that the family have fun together at every opportunity. Spend time making good memories and creating new and wonderful family traditions.
One On One
Take the time to spend some one-on-one time with everyone in the family. One-on-one time is a great way to spend quality time with kids, spouses and stepkids. These don’t have to be expensive outings, going out for ice cream is a great way to incorporate some quality time with each kid.
Contact the Law Offices of Loomis and Greene today! We handle everything from divorce to bankruptcy and more.