Blending Two Families (2)
Blended families are becoming increasingly common. If you’re living in one, here are some things you need to consider. (1) Every child is unique. Small children accept step-parents more easily than teenagers. Your authority won’t carry the same weight with older children. You need to approach them with wisdom and grace, while toddlers need nurture and security. (2) Create new family systems. Each family has its own system: ‘The way we do things in our house is…’ It’s what makes family members feel part of an intimate group. Things like attending church together, sharing mealtimes, playing games or just enjoying a good laugh, help to establish that important sense of bonding and belonging. (3) Unless there’s danger, don’t deny children access to their biological parent. The Bible says, ‘God blesses those…who make peace...’ (Matthew 5:9 CEV) So don’t demean [speak badly of] your ex in front of your kids, and don’t use them as messengers. Research confirms that children who spend time with both parents adjust better. It also decreases the possibility of their getting caught in the crossfire and wounded. (4) Always work in the children’s best interests. There will be holidays and events where you’ll have to meet with your ex, so get used to it—for your children’s sake. They need your love and understanding, especially when emotions run high and everybody is adjusting. Respect what’s gone before. Don’t try to force your idealised idea of what a family should be. Parenting requires maturity—lots of it. PS If you haven’t been praying, now would be a good time to start!