How to Achieve Blended Family Success Using 3 C’s
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Alexandria_Clifton]Alexandria Clifton
Are you a divorcee with kids considering marriage again? Are you engaged to someone who has kids from a former relationship? Soon-to-be-step-parent, are you wrought with anxiety about your upcoming transition?
I am an expert in being honest about the fact that NO ONE knows everything there is to know about step-parenting and the formation of blended families. That being said, the content of this article is inspired by my immersion into a marriage where I simultaneously became wife and step-mom. I am sure that most people agree that parenting, in general, is full of uncertainties, joys, challenges and triumphs. Yet most times these experiences are heightened in newly formed step-families.
The following 3 C’s represent three main categories integral to the healthy establishment of any relationship, especially those involving couples where divorce, separation, and children demarcate the onset of the relational journey.
The First C: Communication
Heed the old adage, “Communication is key.” Communication, however, should not start the day after the honeymoon. The honeymoon should begin well after plenty of candid conversations about the actual logistics and functioning of your soon-to-be-blended family.
For example, if you are the step-parent you may want to broach the topic of discipline, rules, accountability, and authority with your significant other. How do you discipline your kids? Are you okay with my involvement in discipline? How should these disciplinary tactics look? Moreover, bio-parent it is not only nice but important for you to engage your partner here and completely avail yourself to conversations about the fears, questions, and observations of the soon-to-be-step-parent in your life.
Being a parent is tough, and living through a divorce is even harder. Attending to the well-being of children who are more than likely suffering and mourning in some way over the end of their parents’ marriage is extremely difficult. Step-parents should take care to acknowledge the trials and triumphs of bio-parents, while bio-parents must also open the eyes of their heart to the ambiguity, uncertainty, and oftentimes-unparalleled-trials and triumphs of step-parents. Blending is all about achieving a harmony out of bringing together individuals who were previously disparate.
The Second C: Connection
Communication is certainly the utmost of importance. However, all of the ideas, answers, and solutions that come out of candid conversation die when they are not being enacted and engaged.
Before we got married, my husband, then fiancé, was very deliberate and thoughtful about including me in activities that revolved around the entire family. I was not able to make it to all events. There may have been moments when it was healthy for the kids to simply be with their father or mother (or any other family member) without me (the same holds true presently). Yet, we put in the work to achieve quality time and balance, which resulted in genuine connection. It is important to create new traditions that are conducive to and include all members of the “new” family. You can still honor some family traditions that were already set in place.
There is also another dimension to “connection.” It is important for spouses to connect. Reader you might be saying to yourself, “Duh, of course it’s important for partners to connect!” But, trust me, once you are immersed in the day-to-day of school, work, social obligations and the like, date nights and sexual intimacy often fall to the wayside. The adults in a newly formed blended-family can give themselves a thousand reasons why stealing away for a steamy night of romance is out of the question. However, making the time to do so rejuvenates, bonds, and gels a marriage. It is okay! (Repeat this to yourselves daily!)
The Third C: Community
Step-parent…there are bound to be moments when you experience isolation, sadness, frustration or any combination of adverse thoughts and emotions. As I have already mentioned, “blending” simply takes time. The trials and pitfalls common to the bio-parent/child dynamic are typically exacerbated when a new “parental-figure” is thrown into the mix.
All things considered, it is a great idea to become immersed in step-parenting communities. You do not have to be a social media junkie like me to follow a few blogs or join a couple forums geared towards support for step-parents and blended families. Many cities have family centers and churches that provide support groups for parents, divorcees, step-parents, etc.
Every family is different and life brings varying circumstances to every environment. Therefore, take what works for you and leave the rest behind. Keep the establishment of a healthy blended family as the ultimate goal.
As a step-mom, I take each day to reach out and connect with other adults in similar roles. For continued discussion on all things blended family, please go to http://www.saavysage.blogspot.com