This week, we’ll discuss five tips that lead to a successful blended family. All of these take time and conscious effort, but have huge payoffs in creating a harmonious, loving family in the end.
1) Maintain an atmosphere of family inclusiveness. Make it clear that we are one family and we are ALL important. This must begin with BOTH parents. The two of you, together, set the tone for the whole family. Even if the kids resist and are stand-offish, keep at it. Your perseverance will pay off, and they almost always come around eventually. Be as committed to them as you are to your own kids. In the same way that God adopted us into His family, He is asking us to welcome our stepchildren into our own family and hearts – with patience, gentleness, long-suffering, and love.
2) Run from resentment! Resentment will kill your relationships, so work diligently to remove it from your household. Think of “resentment” as meaning: to resend to your mind, over and over again the offense: what they did, what they said, what they didn’t do…
Resentment robs you of peace, as you replay those thoughts over and over again in your mind. This becomes so easy to do when you are not bonded to your family members. Your stepchildren may do the same thing your child does, but where you can gloss over your kid’s mistakes, it really gets under your skin when your stepchild does the same thing. Or, you may resent the fact that your stepchild is living with you, but doesn’t seem to appreciate all that you do for them. If you find yourself starting to harbor resentment toward your stepchild, CHOOSE TO STOP IT! Proverbs 14:1 says:
The wise woman builds her house
But with her own hands, a foolish woman tears hers down.
So, a wise parent does not allow resentment to reside in their home. It will only tear the family apart and tear the home down.
3) Forgiveness is key. This includes forgiving your ex-spouse and perhaps even yourself – anyone involved in your divorce. You need to move on so that this marriage will not suffer due to the past. If you got a divorce because your spouse was unfaithful, you may have trust issues that you are bringing into your new marriage. Get healed and forgive so that your past relationship won’t control your new relationship. You can have that bright future. Don’t let your past rob you by not forgiving.
4) Birth parents should do most of the disciplining until the children and step parent have developed a solid, trusting and loving relationship. The stepparent must come alongside the birthparent in regards to discipline and support them in their decisions, but if the stepparent becomes the one who handles all or most of the discipline too quickly, resentment, anger and division will result. Too much disciplining without a sufficient relationship with the child will result in rebellion toward the stepparent. It will also cause problems between the spouses as well. If you and your spouse can’t get on the same page in regards to discipline, get counseling right away, because the problem will only magnify the more time that goes by.
5) Step parents should come into the family with the same authority as a teacher or a coach – definitely respected, but not trying to take over the role of “parent” too quickly. If you come into the new family with the approach of, “OK, I’m your new mom”, that’s simply too much for your stepchildren to accept and process, so their defenses will go up.
For more tips on blending your step family, check out www.NouveauLifeCoaching.com
And, for more engaging and encouraging podcasts and videos, visit the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com