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Blended Family


Tips on Making a Blended Family Work
 
By Susie and Otto Collins

Since this is the second marriage for both of us, we wanted it to be great and exactly the kind of relationship that we wanted.

While a new marriage certainly takes some getting used to, the children that come along with the new marriage can complicate the situation.

Now, don't get us wrong--children are a wonderful blessing but they usually add stress to a new marriage.

In our situation, Susie's daughter was grown and had her own family. Although there wasn't the stress that comes with younger children, there was the challenge of getting used to the idea that her mom had a new life and new family.

Since Otto was only six years older than Susie's daughter, there was the whole issue of decided for each of them how they would relate to each other.

Step-father and step-daughter didn't seem quite right but what did seem right?

Otto's son at the time of our marriage was primarily being raised by his mother and his son was not in need of another mother. That scenario is certainly a common one and is usually filled with challenges.

What we've found in our case, as well as many other blended families, there seems to be a jockeying for
position when the two families come together because there's an unconscious belief by one or more of the family members that there isn't enough love to go around in this new arrangement.
 
This "jockeying" for position that happens when two
families are trying to blend into one is very close to
the dynamic that is present when there is jealousy
in a relationship.  When someone is jealous, it comes from fear that their needs won't be met.
 
While it's not always been smooth sailing, we have been able to keep and deepen the connection between the two of us, as well as build love and trust with our children. Here  are a few suggestions that have worked for us:
 
--Plan special dates alone with your children
so that they know there is enough love to go around.

--Honor your partner's need to spend time alone with his/her children. Do not insist on being a part of everything they do together.
 
--Plan regular alone time with your spouse--to talk,
to hold hands, to make love, to be together. Don't allow your together time to fall into the cracks as you create your new family situation.
 
--Remember your spouse is your friend and listen
without judging, without butting in with advice unless asked about raising his/her kids--unless of course harm could come because of decisions made.
 
--Get rid of blame and the need to be right.  Work
together towards positive solutions with open hearts
and minds.
 
--Honor each other's differences. Parenting styles are
so different and it takes a lot of courage to learn from each other and not be so rigid, thinking there's only one way to parent--your way. Open your heart to learning something different.
 
--Clearly define roles, rules and expectations--
Everyone in the family should be included in a
discussion and buy into them.  Make your steps clear.
 
--Be persistent, patient and don't take it personally!
 
If you are in a blended family, we urge you to
make a commitment with your partner to take steps
to improve the communication between the two of you.  We've found that our family situation has improved as we have learned to communicate better with each other. 
 
Everyday the two of us recommit our love for each other and our belief that we are together to learn from each other. We wish the same for you and your family.
 

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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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