How to Create Harmony in a Blended Family
by Dr. Randy Carlson, The Intentional Living Center
A Second Chance – Part I
You’ve found love for a second time, and you’re looking forward to a better future with your new husband and children.
Bringing children into the marriage makes it even more important to find success this time. More than 65 percent of second marriages end in divorce. So it’s important to discover ways to invest in your marriage and make it successful.
Going into the marriage with a willingness to work and communicate will help the relationship. Instant adjustment is not realistic for everyone, so remind yourself to be patient.
- Get expectations out on the table: Start by learning as much as you can about your spouse’s past and, specifically, what really went wrong in previous marriages. Be honest about your own past relationship problems, and make sure those issues have been dealt with. Then put those things behind you and look ahead.
- Parents take the lead: The biological parent must be the primary enforcer of discipline with their children. The other spouse is to be supportive of the biological parent, not argumentative or disagreeable in front of the children.
- Clarify new roles and develop a shared vision: Stand closely shoulder-to-shoulder in developing this vision. There are going to be many forces coming against you. Be unified in love and hope for your future.
Half of all families are blended. According to a new poll, 40 percent of Americans say they’re part of a step family. In second marriages, 65 percent involve children from previous marriages and form blended families. Choosing to work together as a team and family, offering communication and love can result in a great blend.
A Roadmap for a Successful Blend – Part II
One of the biggest challenges with blending families today comes with children trying to cope with the loss of one parent to divorce or death while also struggling to accept a stepparent and new brothers and sisters.
Through setting a goal and taking intentional actions, you can set a course so that together you can succeed.
- Allow your children to grieve their losses.
- Take time to listen to your children without trying to fix the problem.
- Don’t allow them to divide and conquer the parent team.
- Keep your conversations about the kids private.
- Stick together as parents and as a family, like a mighty army marching shoulder to shoulder.
Intentional Living Moment Video: Ten Commandments for the Intentional Parent
It’s vital for you and your new spouse to stay in agreement while coming to an understanding on all issues:
- Make the needed decisions or goals clear: Dig deep to the real core of the issues facing your kids. What are your options? What, if anything, do you need to change to make your desired outcomes a reality?
- Lay out your options: List them out for each issue. Talk with a trusted friend, pastor or counselor if you feel stuck or confused.
- Create the plan: Make your roadmap with specific action steps to accomplish your goals.
- Act on your plan: Start with the first step to address the first issue, and go from there.
When you create a roadmap for your blended family, you’ll succeed in ways you never thought possible. You’ll take a huge leap forward in living intentionally.
Suggested Intentional Living Broadcast
Do you have a blended family? We’d love to hear your success stories. Post your comments below.