This is a recipe that is more common every day. It can be delicious or a complete disaster. The base ingredients are pretty standard, although sometimes there are a few variations. Here is the recipe for a blended family.
Children. The children are a key ingredient. They may be primary custody, shared custody or standard visitation, as far as their time with each parent involved in this recipe.
2 Adults. The adults can be both divorced or just one may be divorced. The key is that one of the adults has children, although they both can have children.
Some of the following ingredients might be thrown in just to make the mix more interesting, which can make it flavorful or tart, depending on the maturity level of the ingredient.
An ex-spouse. The ex can be a primary custodial parent, shared custodial parent or even just a parent with visitation. No matter the type of custody situation, the attitude of the ex spouse is very important. If the ex is bitter and angry, the mix will be tart and not very appetizing.
It is important to introduce the ex into the recipe before you mix it all up. The reason for this is that when you blend a family, you are not just blending the adults who marry and the children of those respective marriages. You are blending the ex’s into that family as well. As long as any third person is involved with children for extended amounts of time, both parents should know this person and feel comfortable with them spending time with their children. It will promote peace and good will and the end result will be a much healthier recipe.
There will be times, that no matter how you handle this one ingredient; the bitterness from it will seep through. Sometimes you cannot combat that bitterness, so you must elevate yourself in the recipe and not add to that bitterness. When you can do this, it will plump up the children of the mix and sweeten some of the bitter.
Finally, there are always extras you can throw in to the mixture to make it sweeter. I recommend the spouse that turns out to be the step parent add these ingredients. Patience. It is hard to gain a step parent. Suddenly your child may feel displaced. If you are not the primary custodian, and you move into your new spouse’s life, who is a primary custodian, it is important to realize that this child needs to feel like this is their home as well.
Alternatively, if you are moving into a home where your step children have been living, you are on their turf, so you must tread lightly to see how it will go. Patience will get your through all of this.
Tough Skin. I recommend this ingredient even in the best circumstances. No matter how much you love your step children, there will be times you will hear, “You aren’t my parent.” If you realize those words are said out of anger, hurt or frustration, then you will survive without bringing the bitter into the mix.
Tough Skin also helps when dealing with a bitter or angry ex spouse. Remember, words and surface feelings from children are generally emulated not ingrained. So, if you are having serious trouble with a child, you might want to consider if it is coming from the ex spouse. If it is not, talk to your spouse about therapy or seeking help for that child to deal with underlying and unresolved issues.
Love. Children can never have too many people love them. If you continue to love your step children and treat them like your own children, your blended family will be sweet and rich. Understanding. Try putting yourself in the child’s shoes. How would you feel if a new man moved into your home and into your mother’s bed? How would you feel if you had to visit your parent at his new home with kids that already lived there and had been living there, trying to find your place amongst them?
If you add the ingredients above, you will notice a great blend of family. There is no question that there will be tough times, but keep at it, and eventually, you will obtain the perfect recipe for blended family success!
Acknowledge, Accept, Empower and Heal.