Plan for blended family bonding and unity
When single parents fall in love and plan to blend their families, they sometimes fall prey to a narrow view of what to expect. Love sometimes does that. It makes us feel like everything is okay now. Good thing, too, because otherwise, many people might never attempt to build one blended and unified step family out of two groups of people who come with so many personal issues. Building a blended family comes with its own set of challenges, and if you are to succeed with yours, you must plan early and plan well. The plan you set in motion is the foundation on which your blended family will be built.
Mental preparation for new blended family relationships
Think about your step family relationship goals, not just the relationship with your new blended family partner. Many new couples are so focused on their own happiness they do not realize that others may not be so happy about the planned blended family. It is important to set aside your blissful feelings long enough to realize that everyone has a lot of hard work ahead of them. For instance, think about how your relationship with your children will be affected when you become part of a blended family, and make plans to help ensure the effects are positive ones. Think about what kind of relationship you wish to build with your step kids, and how to achieve it. Think about how you might form a cooperative and positive relationship with the ex-spouse of your new partner; he or she will ALWAYS be in the mix when it comes to planning for your blended family.
Get organized and get organized early in your step family
Before you and your new love merge your two families, have some serious talks about how you plan to manage your blended family. Your first discussions may involve a comparison of disciplinary styles, and a negotiation for revisions that will suit everyone. Changes in household rules are often easier to accomplish prior to the actual blending of your families. Establish house rules that assign household chores, behavioral guidelines, and disciplinary tactics. You should decide whether step parents will discipline step kids and under what circumstances immediate action would otherwise be justified. You will need to discuss how you plan to manage co-parenting of non-custodial children, visitation schedules, and financial obligations.
Your blended family is not a practice run
Please be sure you are committed to your new relationship before involving your children. Many couples believe that living together first, to see how well everyone gets along, is a good idea. Rather than being a cautious move, this is dangerous strategy. Dangerous not only because it provides an easy exit for acceptable relationship failure, but it puts the hearts and minds of your kids at risk. They have already suffered terrible losses and experienced more changes than they deserve. Please protect them from an unnecessary loss by knowing your own minds before forming your blended family. A blended family can only thrive and survive if its managing adults are stable role models and leaders.
Talk with each other about your plans for the future. Think about what is best for you, and for your children, and make decisions based on careful consideration and solid decision-making for the long run. You may decide that trying to form a new blended family at this time in your lives may be more detrimental than helpful to the development and security of your kids, despite your affection for each other. On the other hand, you may know in your heart of hearts that you are ready to take on the special challenges inherent to blended family life, and have the commitment and dedication necessary to hang in there through good times and bad. You are confident that your special relationship can provide a loving and constant foundation for the blended family your children need. Love sometimes does that, too. If you need additional help, contact The Blended and Step Family Resource Center for coaching. We’re here for you.