In today’s society the blended family is the norm. It’s wonderful when new love is found and everything is about the relationship and then you all make the decision to become more serious, rather that be marriage or moving in with one another. The idea of blending the two families is now a question of discussion, or is it?
Do you talk about blending families before blending or after you have already blended?
I have heard the story of a perfect relationship and then when the children are added into the mix, the fix is not the best. How do you create an environment where everyone is excited about this partnership. The answer is quite simple, you have a discussion before making the decision to move in together or get married.
The success of your relationship should depend on how well your partner interacts with your children and how well you interact with theirs. Children can make or break the perfect relationship.
Steps you should take to make it work
When the relationship starts to become serious, maybe it’s time to meet the kids. Not move your lover in! Meeting the kids can be very informal at first. Let your children know you are dating and that you are becoming serious with a person. Give them time to process the information and be open to questions. Plan for them to meet, without pressure to interact with each other. The meeting should not be the entire focus, plan something that gives your children an out.
Plan outings that include just you and your kids and your love. if your love has children of their own, this is not the time to mix all the kids. This is a time for your children to develop a relationship with your love, with no pressure. Your helping to build a friendship, your giving both your children and new lover the opportunity to develop an organic relationship.
If your love has children plan outings that include their kids and just you. So what was done for your children should also be done for your loves children. Build the relationship and encourage communication.
Always be open to your children questions, insecurities, and hesitations. Sometimes our children can see things that we cannot, because we are the ones in love and honestly love can be blinding, sometimes. Our children having nothing to gain or lose in the beginning may witness behaviors that need some attention.
When the children involved are young, it makes it a little harder. You must be aware and present. How you see this person must be a part of how they interact with your child. You are planning a commitment that is suppose to last until death do you part. If you want the relationship to last you must consider the feelings or the behavior of your child when they are with this person.
I know that some may feel, why should there happiness depend on what a child wants or feels, but in reality it doesn’t have to, but if you want it to last it should.
Once you have strengthened the relationship between yourself, your child, and your partner or between yourself, their child, and your partner it is time to have the children interact with each other, if that is the case. Take this slow as well and do not force relationships. Let friendships form on their own. Be encouraging but not forceful. Even if the situation is a situation where the children will not live together full-time it is still important to nourish that relationship.
The last part of this puzzle is the other parents. You will interact with them as well, how often would definitely be up to you and your partner. In a perfect world you want everyone to get along, but the world is not so perfect and sometimes the drama of a co parenting situation can get ugly and cause friction in your relationship. Speak to your partner about the what ifs and discuss how you all will solve them together. Set boundaries and be clear and honest about what is acceptable to you and them.
The goal is start a marriage strong so that the foundation of that marriage stands up to anything. There are many levels to the blended family so why not put in the work at the beginning so that you are sure this is a relationship worth continuing.
The fear of the relationship not working with the children is always a thought or the reason behind not making it a focus before getting to serious, before moving someone in, or before marriage, but it needs to be. Yes, you are in entitled to happiness, but never at the expense of your children. Things may start out great, but if the bond is not there, it will cause major issues and discomfort in your marriage.
There is nothing I admire more than a blended family that works. When you think of all the components of a family and then the added components of a blended family, it takes strength and understanding to make it work, well.