The reality is that life inside a blended family is different and that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just different and usually, never simple. So first and foremost:
- Friends from nuclear families don’t understand the nuances of blended family life – best not to ask them for advice.
- Blended relationships are three times harder to start and it can take between 4 – 10 years to “feel like” a family.
- Yes, it is normal not to love your step-children right away – the feeling is likely mutual due to all the losses children encounter during the adult’s gains in remarriage.
- One of the most helpful things to do is learn to have compassion for and understanding about your emotions, the children’s emotions and your partners emotions.
- The second most helpful thing is to make room for the old relationships that don’t include the stepparents. Bio-parents and bio-kids need time alone together, Bio-parent and new spouse need time alone together and Stepparent and bio-kid need some time together to begin building common ground.
- Yes, your partner can runs defense better than Deion Sanders, Ronnie Lott, or “Mean Joe” Green during a Superbowl game when it comes to discussing their children.
- Marrying a widower/widow? Be sure to have sound personal boundaries protecting your relationship from the “no-one-is-good-enough-friend-of-the-deceased-police.”
- Mother’s day and Father’s day can be weird and good.
- Ambiguity over life direction usually sets in after high school or college graduation when your future is yours and the “right path” is filled with so many possibilities and different directions that it can be overwhelming. Ambiguity is a natural feeling as part of blended family life and being a step-parent. Know that having a positive attitude and giving the benefit-of-the-doubt will serve you through the uncertainty.
- Blended family growth is a process, as is being a kid learning about life and living. Processes usually take more time than anticipated and that’s normal.
- Webster’s definition of a process is:
- A series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result
- A series of changes that happen naturally
- In effect, you have some influence on the process and sometimes you just need to let it happen naturally.
- Is it all worth it? Yes.
- Is a lot of success mainly based in the approach? Yes.
What would you add to the list?