How Do You Blend a Family?
Few people prepare for the unique dynamics of a blended family. Even fewer plow into it head first with a plan. They mistakenly assume that it will look and operate like the nuclear family they began. It does not.
Give the Process Time
One of the biggest mistakes many couples make is unrealistic expectations of a stepfamily dynamics. They try to make the new situation function like the family of origin. It won’t, not entirely anyway.
Adjust Your Expectations
Without the right expectations, you risk “over-cooking” your stepfamily. Take your expectations down a notch. Don’t attempt to force, pressure, or microwave the family together. It can result in a dangerous mix at best; a failure at worst.
Instead, Slow Cook It!
Crockpots cook a blend of ingredients together on low heat for long periods of time. When fully cooked, it is perfectly blended and full of flavor. Ingredients are thrown together in the same pot, but each is left intact.
The low-heat brings the elements together while still maintaining their original characteristics. The juices flow, and it makes a delicious combination. The same goes for stepfamilies when you follow the “crockpot” blended family recipe.
How to Cook Your Stepfamily “Crockpot” Style
- Recognize that this family is not the same as the original family. Keeping that in mind will help you stay open to more efficient ways of relating to one another.
- Don’t make too many changes at once. Take your time. Wait a couple of years to remarry if possible. Don’t try to force old or new family traditions or rules on the new blended family. Honor the differences and work toward blending them down the road. If you want to make some changes, then make them before you marry, so it does not create resentment. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Do not expect the children to view your spouse as a parent figure right away. The natural mother or father should continue to be the disciplinarian. It may seem odd to some of you. But for a stepfamily, it is important to build trust with the stepchildren before asserting authority as a “mother” or “father” in their life.
- Don’t expect that you, or your partner, will fall in love with each other’s children overnight. Relationships will take time. Get to know them. Allow love and affection to happen naturally over time.
- You don’t have to do everything together. Family time is important, However, more than likely, both sides got used to spending time with their version of a nuclear family. Set aside time to do an activity without the new family members. Make it something you would normally do with your kids.
Click here for more blended family and step-parenting tips.
The Successful Result of a Blended Family
No one plans to be a part of a blended family, but it happens. It can be a challenging situation. But, with the right plan, you can still achieve a successful marriage and family.
If you are in a blended family or in the process of heading that way, we can help you. Our relationship coaches and counselors will lead you toward a plan that benefits the needs of your family dynamics.
To learn more about the “crockpot” method and how to blend a stepfamily
check out The Smart Stepfamily by Ron Deal.