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Blended Family & Step Family Issues


Communicating within Your Blended Family by Using Agreements

By Susie and Otto Collins

We all have different ways of looking at life and those differences can certainly cause communication breakdowns and disconnection in our relationships, especially in blended families.

 
The story we're about to tell you will illustrate how to communicate within a blended family and create an agreement that not only works but also helps facilitate closer and more connected relationships.
 
When we first got together, Susie was used to a neat, clean home because she had lived by herself for awhile before getting together with Otto. 
 
Otto has a now 16 year old son from a previous marriage who visits twice a week and is with us every other weekend.
 
When a rowdy, young boy entered the picture, Susie spent a lot  of time, effort and energy trying to get him to pick up after himself.
 
Back then, the problem was that Otto's son never seemed to get the idea and it seemed that he always had to be reminded of what was expected of him.
 
As a result, Susie would become frustrated, Otto would become angry and his son would retreat into a video game or a television show to avoid the situation.
 
We (Susie and Otto) decided to practice what we preach and create some agreements between the two of us about what our expectations would be concerning Otto's son and how we would deal with various situations when he was with us.
 
One of our agreements was that Otto would be the one to remind his son to pick up his clothes and dirty dishes if there was a need to.  And Otto would do this with humor and love before his son's bedtime each evening. Susie agreed to not worry about whether all this would happen or not and to trust
that Otto would take care of it.
 
Fast forward several years--Because of our agreement, Otto's son now takes more responsibility for picking up after himself. There also seems to be more ease and flow with all of us during the times he's with us.
 
The point is that we came to an agreement about how we were going to handle that situation and then each of us followed through.
 
Since it was his son, Otto felt that he (and not Susie) needed to be the one to "parent" and Susie agreed to lighten up about her expectations around this issue.
 
We figured out that what Otto's son really wanted from him was love and attention. With this agreement, his son gets both in a much healthier way and we also get what we want.
 
We are telling you this story as a reminder that you can create your relationships and life the way you want them to be.  You can also unravel those sticky communication issues.
 
Opening up and telling each other how you feel is a beginning step to making agreements. You do this by not blaming but by simply saying what it is that you want and looking at possibilities.
 
We could not have made the agreement that we made if we had hung onto blaming each other and the idea that we were each "right" in this situation.
 
In any of your relationships, you have to be willing to make the commitment to communicate with each other no matter how painful it becomes. You have to speak your truth and you have to listen without judgment to what the other person has to say.
 
If you aren't in the habit of creating agreements with the people you live with or work with, start now.  When you do, your relationships will go from where they are to where you have always hoped they would be!
 

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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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