Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blended family quality time

It’s difficult to find time for everyone in a blended family:  time for your kids, time for your spouse’s kids, time for your entire family, time for you, and time for you and your spouse.  It’s hard to know who to give priority. 

Research from The Blended and Step Family Resource Center shows that there is an easy answer to this, in order to have a successful blended family.  Your marriage should take priority in the family.  You and your spouse ought to schedule time to be together. 

Blended family quality time.
Date like when you were courting
Naturally, illness or an emergency are valid reasons to cancel every once in a while, but it is imperative that you preserve and enjoy quality time together. Time spent together minus kids and with no distractions, helps you maintain the necessary resilience and enthusiasm for managing your step family. And just as importantly, taking time to talk intimately and enjoy being together is vital to a meaningful and mutually satisfying relationship.

Hint: If you find yourself cancelling dates with your spouse too often, try paying the sitter a monthly salary for date nights. This will keep the sitter booked and available, plus give you added incentive for keeping your date!

Your relationship as step mom and step dad
Probably fewer of us expected to become a step parent. If we had, maybe we would be more prepared! When we remember that our children were even less prepared to become members of a blended family, it does help us hold on to sufficient empathy for their feelings. Step parents must show a united front, displaying unwavering commitment to the step family as a unit. When you disagree, do it in private. This not only gives each of you ample opportunity to be heard and understood by the other, but also keeps step siblings from taking sides and spreading your disagreement over the entire step family.

Kids need quality time with their parents
Blended family time, blended family goals, blended family fun, and blended family memories: These are all important and wonderful. Sometimes, though, step kids and step siblings need a break from being step anything, and need time with their biological family, along with undivided attention and unshared concern.

Quality time may mean different things to different members of your blended family, but when you consider that step parents and step kids all want and need love, attention, and acceptance, what defines quality maybe becomes a little clearer.  For more information on how to spend quality time in a blended family, visit The Blended and Step Family Resource Center.

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