Step families and blended families are popular. Make the transition easier for all involved.
When two families merge and create one, everyone needs to adjust, give and take, and, most of all, be patient.
When I remarried seven years ago, I felt very fortunate. My three children and two soon-to-be stepchildren all got along. Despite the ten-year age span everyone was comfortable with, understanding and considerate of each other.
Unfortunately not all step-families have this experience. It’s what I refer to as the “Cinderella Effect”. With visions of wicked stepmothers and evil stepsisters, this is how, as a child myself, I had envisioned step-families.
Nowadays the traditional nuclear family is the minority. Step-families, single parent households and, more often than decades ago, grandparents who are repeating parenting roles, are more common.
When you put two families together, here are some important rules to remember and consider. I followed all of these and maybe that’s why my step-family has clicked.
Don’t expect all kids to get along immediately. Allow them time and space. The harder you try to get them to bond, the more they may resent it and retaliate.
Individual Quality Time
Don’t do everything together as a group, especially during the “honeymoon” period. Just as siblings (natural, half or step) need a break from one another, parents need to realize that individual time with their own children is important and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Each Child Has A Place
Combining two households also means blending two of everything. Living quarters will quickly become crowded and overstocked. Make sure that every child, full time residents and alternating weekend residents, have their own space. Whether it is a dresser, half of the closet area or a shelf in the bathroom linen closet. Simple acts of sharing go a long way.
Family Privacy Act
Once the kids have their drawer, shelf or own storage area, respect it and their property. When the non-custodial’s children come to visit, try and make sure that everything of theirs is where they left it. Remind full time children not to snoop. Privacy is important and invasion of that privacy is hard to forgive.
Rules For One and One Rule For All
Maintain and keep consistent with the kid’s rules. Set the rules for all children, with the childrens’ input, and make sure all children abide them. Devise a chore chart and stick to it. Make sure all children do their fair share. Keeping rules consistent should help prevent favoritism and animosity. Equal treatment should spread around. Fairness is easily seen and mutual respect evolves.
Published in: Family