Sunday, November 26, 2006

Recipe for harmony

What one family learned about "blending:"

We want to go into our new lives together with our eyes wide open. Here's what we learned:

  • Expect the unexpected. Bringing two families together doesn't always mean a harmonious mix. The results can be more like oil and vinegar.
  • Blended families are different. Recognize the uniqueness.
  • It generally takes three to seven years to successfully blend a family.
  • Who disciplines the children? Generally, leave discipline to the birth parent but support each other. Discuss the issues behind the scenes, not in
    front of the children, but present a unified decision.
  • Whose family traditions will be upheld? The answer is both, sometimes. Other times it means making new family traditions.
  • Be prepared to deal with ex-spouses and extended families, because struggles will ensue. New alliances will be formed. Be an adult and be prepared to compromise, while sticking to your values.
  • Don't have impossible expectations for your spouse's children. It leads to alienation and anger on both sides.
  • Don't get frustrated when your spouse doesn't enforce rules with their children. Develop house rules together.
  • Know what your role is as a stepparent. The children need your friendship and to know you won't come between them and their birth parents.
  • Don't get frustrated with the back-and-forth nature of blended families. Life changes rapidly with two households. Be prepared for constant change.
  • Don't become resentful over your changing role as a stepparent and spouse. Getting remarried means you've lost some of the control over your own life and that of your children.
  • Learn to deal being rejected by stepchildren, ex-spouses and ex-extended family. Learn to communicate your feelings in a healthy manner to all concerned.
  • Remarrying does not mean the end of financial challenges. Be prepared for constraints.
  • Be ready for your new spouse to not love your children the way you do. You've had a lifetime with them. Allow time for adjustments.

1 comment:

Adryenn Ashley said...

As a child of divorce myself (and dealing with the emotional issues that created) I was stunned to learn that nearly 70% of all marriages that end are due to financial stress. Add to that crushing statistic that divorce has not only become acceptable, but nearly inevitable! Why? Because we as a society don't take the time to do the work up front to ensure lifelong happiness. In fact, many smart, single girls revert back to schoolgirl fantasies once the ring goes on their finger. Faster than their guy can get up off of bended knee, these girls are pulling out the bridal magazines and obsessing over napkins and cake flavors. Combining two well-lived lives requires as much attention, more in fact, as planning a fairytale wedding. So Every Single Girl's Guide To Her Future Husband's Last Divorce is my contribution to all future second wives out there so they can learn the ropes without getting in the ring. We owe it to ourselves and our families to protect our ASSets! I may not be able to relive my childhood of fix my parents marriage, but I can help a new generation of women learn the tools to help them survive.