It is not surprising that many previously married people are entering the dating field. With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, dating by divorced parents is obviously something done by millions of individuals. More often than not, the people re-entering the dating pool after their marriages end are now adding children to their dating resumes. So it’s not surprising that when two people meet, fall in love and get married, they each have kids. So how do you successfully merge your families?
Be prepared to fail
Yep, this is the first point because setting expectations is important. And its ok. Lots of personalities equals lots of different points of view and opinions and bumps in the road. Parents and children will make mistakes. Be prepared for a rough road and lots of ups and downs, it is perfectly normal and you should treat it accordingly. Be normal when it happens. You will reduce stress, anxiety and disappointment. In the end, what matters most is that you're all together.
Agree on the rules early
Not only are families merging but communication styles are too and so are personalities. Parents must agree on how to handle everyday things like homework, household chores, bedtime and more. The agreed discipline approach to both biological children and stepchildren is important so everybody is on the same playing field. The kids will notice. If there is a consistent message for the kids coming from both parents on what's right and what's wrong, it will make the transition for the children and parents easier.
Bring everybody together at the wedding
No matter how great the relationships are between parents and their future step-children are, the rubber hits the road when it is wedding time. The wedding is the perfect time to bring both sides together in a special way. Kids are smart and should be included in the decision making process during the planning process. It is also a great idea to formally have a Family Medallion Ceremony as a way to bring together both families. Read more about this ceremony and it's significance here.
Silence doesn't mean acceptance.
Check in all the time. Everyone needs to feel heard, especially a child in a newly-blended family. Regular family meetings are a must. Use them as a time to talk about what's working and what's not.
Article ListThe Family Medallion® Wedding
Melding Together a Blended Family
Bonding with your new blended family