- When two people re-marry, whether they each bring children into the union, or only one of them does, the dynamics change dramatically.
- Most people go into a blended family situation desperately wanting to make it work. They've previously suffered from a relationship loss, either by divorce or death, and don't go easily into a new alliance, especially because children—theirs, the new spouse's, or both—are involved.
But regardless of how hard they struggle with major issues, the men and women who have created and lived in blended families say it often is the little things that trip you up and lead to the big fallout. According to many experts, over half of all remarriages end in divorce.
What Step-Parents Can Do - to strengthen the family
- Twelve ways in which people trip in step-families. Become aware of these potential stumbling blocks so you can keep both your balance and your blended family intact.
1) Being impatient
Biological families are created slowly, with
the couple having time to get used to themselves as a unit and each
other's extended family before a child comes into the fold. In a blended
family, however, two thirds of the family exists before the newcomer is
admitted. The children have finally gotten used to being with one
parent at a time since the divorce (or death), and don't welcome yet
Suddenly, the new spouse and addition to the family pops up on the scene. It's
like suddenly being the new boy or girl in the classroom or on the
team. Everyone else knows the rules and group history but you. Too often
the biological parent pushes the new spouse onto a fast track,
expecting that the children will automatically fall in love with the
stepparent just because he or she did.
Sometimes it is the new stepparent who
wants to "prove" that he or she is going to be a great addition to the
family. The stepparent tries too hard for affection and approval, and by
doing so, inadvertently pushes the kids away because they feel
resentful and guilty about this person who is trying to supplant their
mom or dad. The harder the stepparent tries to win the kids over, the
more they resist. It's frustrating for the adult who only wants to reach
out to the loved one's kids.
Remember to keep doing those things you did when you were dating their parent,
such as bringing little gifts from time to time, occasionally slipping
teens some gas money, or arranging some special time alone with the step
kids. Be patient. Love grows slowly.
Twelve mistakes to avoid in step-parenting:
Speaking without listening
Having to always be right
Staying angry or bitter
Arguing for the sake of arguing
Making children the messengers
Using money as a power play
Forgetting that the children’s well-being is your first priority
Neglecting your health
Trying to take the place of the biological same-sex parent
Forgetting to laugh
Closing your heart to love