His, Hers or Ours? – The Secret to a Happy Blended Family
Remarrying when you have kids presents unique challenges. Not only do you need to learn how to live with your new spouse, but also how to live with your step kids- if any. You need to put in work to turn your new family into a cohesive blended family. But, where do you start?
It is important to know the potential difficulties that you might face. For starters, your step children may not be as accepting of you and their new step siblings as you want them to be and this may cause friction in the family.
Secondly, it may be difficult for you to determine where the boundaries are when it comes to parenting your step children. Are you allowed to discipline them? Does your new spouse have veto power when it comes to decisions regarding your step kids?
While both of these issues revolve around the kids, they can also affect your married life. If your new spouse is not getting along with your biological children, those negative emotions can affect your relationship as a couple. On the other hand, if you are constantly overruling your spouse’s decisions with regard to your biological children, it’s only a matter of time before they start feeling like a second class member of your new family.
Set Expectations Early On
The secret to a successful blended family is setting realistic expectations early on. With regard to the kids, you should let them know that you don’t expect them to instantly love their new step parent but you expect them to show him or her respect. With regard to your new spouse, you should talk about what the role of the biological parent will be, what the role of the step parent will be and how issues concerning discipline will be handled.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Just because you agreed to certain “rules” when you first got married doesn’t mean you have to suffer quietly if they are no longer working for you. You should be able to talk to your spouse about any issues that you might be having. The kids should be able to come to you with any issues that they might be having.
You may not always get your way, but the opportunity to discuss the issue and come to an agreement as a couple or as a family can make life as a blended family so much easier for you.