Know Your BoundariesJan 11, 2002 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Auto Parts and AccessoriesThe Bottom Line Know your boundaries and limitations before taking the step to blend your families.
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With the statistics of today's marriages ending in divorce at 50% the odds are half the people you know are blended families. Two households becoming one in-supposed harmony. That may not always be the case.
Before you become a Step Family
I strongly urge you to discuss every and any thing that pops into your head before you decide to unite into one family. This is not a marriage between the couple, but it is a marriage of two families.
Things to discuss:
How do you discipline your children?
What is normal for you and your children?
What limitations or boundaries do I have?
How much of the parenting am I allowed to do?
What are your thoughts on parenting?
These are my thoughts on parenting.
After the Union
Many times this is really unstable ground for both you and the children. Most older children are going to test and see just how much they can get away with. Be prepared and know what your spouse expects, approves and disapproves of as far as discipline.
Make sure you do not make a difference between children. You may want to try to earn their trust right away and it is not going to be that easy. This is something you must work at earnestly. When you do this your own child or children may look at the situation and feel they are not getting enough attention from you. So, watch yourself that you do not push your children away while trying to blend the families together.
The biggest misconception is that these are your children, esp. if they are older. The child will be the first to tell you that you are not their father/mother when angered or told to do something they really are not in the mood to do.
Right off the bat you cannot say these are "our" children. Regardless of how hard you try you will slip up and say my step kids. For some this is no big deal, for others this is a "huge deal." They feel you are making a distinction between yours and hers/his children. Which may not be the case at all, and you may look back and not even realize you said it.
Do not take for granted what is expected of you. Ask questions of the children as well as your spouse. Together you will make this work, but you will slip up. It is a given, because no person is perfect as is no one relationship perfect.
Right and Wrong
There is a right and wrong way to approach your spouse with a problem with the children. Be up-front about it; do not hold back after a child disrespects you. Right then and there involves the other parent. If you do not do this and keep letting it slide and nit pick your spouse about it. It will appear that you are singling one child out or even picking on that child. This will be your own mistake and no one else to blame but yourself.
Use an endearment to your spouse when discussing the children, ok so I am telling you to tip toe around until you get your bearings. "Honey Suzi Q seems to be a little moody lately is there something I should know about?" Your spouse's response will be much calmer and reasonable. If you come out with "Suzi Q is being a royal pain and disrespecting me and I won't put up with that and you know it!" This kind of approach will get you some bad nights sleep on the couch, it is accusing regardless if it holds merit or not.
There is no shame in showing a loving nurturing atmosphere. Some parents want to come off the tough guy/gal and it doesn't fly with most kids. In my experience (and God forbid I have had many) showing love and understanding even in the midst of an argument work wonders.
This is foreign to some kids who have relied on one parent to be the guiding factor. You are something they are jealous of; because you are getting the attention they once had to themselves. Now they must share mom/dad with not only you, but if you have children they must share you with them.
This is what is working for me this go round. I am making time for the kids. Each child gets a "Mommy Day" and a "Pops Day" without the other children around. It makes the child feel special even if it is two hours out shopping, or to the soda Shop. We also have our family time; everyone must be present at dinner and at the table together as a family. After dinner all will share in the chores of cleaning up and a board game will be played depending on how much homework is to be done.
Saturdays are fishing days with Pops, all the kids go and have a blast for a few hours and Mom gets time to herself. Sundays are time with Mom and Pops gets time in his Shop by himself to work on the car, or whatever he decides to do. Friday nights are TGIF at Grams/Gramps House. This is where they go so that they can eat whatever they want and have a food feast. This gives Mom and Pops time together all night long without interruption.
This does not mean your relationship will lack spontaneity it is still there, but you have a foundation to work off of for the children's sake. But never lose sight of each other, and never get so caught up in trying to be the perfect parent that you forget to be a spouse.
We did not jump right into this relationship instead we eased into it. Both families learning to trust again is difficult. To thrust kids who do not know each other together and expect them to "get along" is crazy. We eased the children together giving them small doses of each other until they were comfortable.
I hope this helps someone out there going through the same situation. It is not impossible and can be done, but you have to work at.
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