Saturday, December 17, 2011

The worst mistakes that can be made in a blended family

Navigating the nuances of a blended family is more than knowing what to do; it is also being aware of what not to do. Here are some of the worst mistakes:

  1. Being too affectionate with your spouse while the kids are watching
Getting used to a new step mom or step dad is difficult for kids. Holding hands is alright, but watching their dad make out on the couch with their step mom is probably a bit too much, too soon.

  1. Pretending everything is the same
A blended family is unlike a typical biological family, and it will take time for the children, and adults, to become comfortable with the arrangement. Assure your kids they everyone loves them and that their relationship with each biological parent has not changed. A step family just adds new members to love and be loved by.

  1. Treating step kids different than biological kids
It is important that all kids in the blended family are treated the same, and held to the same standards. This is especially true when it comes to birthdays and holidays. You can’t spend twice as much on your biological kids as you do your step kids.

  1. Treating your step kids as competition
There are no competitions in a blended family! Children often see a new step parent as someone who will take time away from them, and a step parent may feel as though the kids will take away time spent with their spouse. It is important that everyone knows there are no competitions or threats.

  1. Making the kids the epicenter of everything
Often times, a marriage may fail because your relationship was not the center of the home. The relationship between you and your spouse should always be the center of your blended family.

  1. You only spend time with your spouse during family time
As already stated, you have to have alone time with your spouse, each and every day, even if only for 10 minutes. Kids can draw from your strength.

  1. You eliminate discipline in your blended or step family
The common thinking is that the kids have been through a lot, with divorce, remarriage, a blended family, etc, and they have, and that they could use a break from discipline. What they need is structure, and you provide this by being consistent with house rules and privileges.

  1. You speak negatively of your ex with the kids present
This is just common sense. All adult matters should be kept from the children, regardless of how you feel about your ex.

  1. You constantly bring up the past
The past is the past; let it go! Focus on your new blended family, without reminiscing about the so-called good old days.

  1. You do not provide visiting kids with private space
Each child does not necessarily need their own room, but they should have a personal space they can call home.

By avoiding these ten mistakes, you can ensure that your blended family grows into a stellar unit over time. To get professional help with your blended family, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center is ready to assist you with tips, ideas, as well as coaching and counseling services to help your blended family become strong and successful. Get in touch with licensed professional counselors today.

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