Letting go of past experiences and expectations is a must for a blended family life to thrive. It might be that your partner is not as patient with the kids as your ex was, and perhaps not as contented as your ex had always been with your particular style of intimacy. Maybe your previous home had a nicer yard, more storage space, or nicer neighbors. Sometimes you might find yourself annoyed at how your step kids behave.
As a step parent, you have to give before you can ever expect to receive; as a spouse, you give love to get love, and share joy to feel joy. You can only do these things when you are open and receptive to the present. Focus on the gift of your remarriage; on your small successes in bonding with step kids; on the progress step siblings are making to form your blended family with you. Let the past go.
Now is now
Think about it. Why would you want, or expect, your blended family to be a mirror of your previous family relationship? Your new step family is a blend of familiar and unfamiliar, new choices and old habits, and a colorful collage of step moms and step dads, step kids and step siblings, step grandparents, all struggling with their own wants and expectations based on their own past experiences in their outdated family unit. Make it a blended family goal to separate the past from the present.
Take a fresh look
Try to help all your kids find harmony as step siblings, and encourage new thinking, creative problem solving, cooperative negotiations, and unconditional acceptance. As step moms and step dad, help them to learn that tolerance is an important life skill. Step parents can practice looking at each other as totally new and different spouses, too!
Appreciate the people in your blended family as if today might be your last chance to learn or love anything new about them. Every day, thank your spouse for joining you in this blended family you are building together. When you practice letting go of past experiences and expectations, your blended family can create its own present. For more information on how to live up blended family expectations, contact The Blended and Step Family Resource Center.