Many families are no longer the traditional two-parent, mom and dad variety. Given today’s high divorce and remarriage rates, families may now include step-parents and step-siblings. How can you blend your two families together?
Your step-children are not going to automatically love you just because your spouse does. It is going to take time and a lot of hard work to make everyone into a family. Think of it as taking baby steps towards unity. There are going to be good days and bad days,
WHO IS THE ADULT?
Remember that you are dealing with children, or even more difficult, adolescents. You are the adult, not them. You have to expect childish behavior from them, but need to remember to respond as an adult.
TREAT YOUR CHILDREN THE SAME
As much as possible, treat your children and your spouse’s children in the same manner. If curfew is 10 PM on the weekend for your children, it should be for your step-children as well. Try to avoid favoritism whenever possible. The children will not only notice it, they will consider it a wedge between them.
GO OUT AS A FAMILY
Plan an activity that everyone will enjoy. Have each of the children and step-children participate in the planning of and preparation for your day. Whether it is a baseball game, a day at the beach, or a picnic at the park, do something that is fun for everyone.
SPEND TIME WITH EACH CHILD
Plan a special time with each of your step-children. Go for a ride, a walk with the dog, or a visit to a favorite museum. Movies can be a great place to go because you have something in common to talk about over an ice cream afterwards.
REMEMBER YOUR SPOUSE
In the midst of trying to build up your family relations, do not forget your spouse. Try to take a date night at least once a month where you can laugh about life and do something special. Your family is not going to blend if your marriage is in trouble.
Talk with your spouse about the problems and successes that you are having with the children. If one child in particular is being difficult, you are going to have to deal with them as a united front.
KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR
If you forget how to laugh, so will your children, let alone your step-children. Keeping a balanced look at your life will help you through the times when relationships are tough.