Loss causes step families and blended families. Loss from death, a breakup or divorce; two lonely hurting adult hearts come together trying to comfort and love each other searching for a second chance at love. The adults seldom come alone. They have their precious children with them in their arms or holding their tiny hands.
Children now face the remarriage of their parent to a stranger, an intruder so to say, that just came into their lives. Their feeling are very mixed, mom gives too much attention to this new guy, or dad has very little time to give his children now that this new woman is his wife. His children don’t get along with hers or visa versa. One gets all the chores to do and the step sibling has none. One overindulges with material things and the other doesn’t. One lets their children eat sugar and junk food all day and the other is very health and nutrition focused. One does their child’s homework for them and one sits nightly helping and teaching.
The second chance at love becomes tense and uncomfortable when one parents approach is authoritarian and the others is more of teaching with consequences and rewards. Her/his approach is more gentle and his/hers is harsh and very military style. He approaches her children with strictness and no flexibility stating she is too soft with her kids and he will shape them up. The stars in her eyes become daggers as she attempts to protect her children and the lines get drawn, us against them.
What are the solutions and answers to all this pain? Secure attachment and bonding with all children is the adult’s job, not the children’s. The adults must put their needs and parenting styles that clash aside and begin gently blending. The parent not in the picture or not in the new blended family, must be given respect and time with his/her children. Bad mouthing that parent only lowers you in the eyes of your children. They lose respect for you. That anger and resentment work needed to be done long before the blending began.
Steps must be taken to blend and focus on the children’s needs. They must come first to a large degree. That is not to say the adults don’t set time aside for themselves anymore, after all they dated a lot and spent hours, weeks and months together without the children or only blending them a bit here and there. That was the private courtship time for the adults.
There are so many rewards and blessings when children feel safe, secure and laughter fills the home. Coming home to peace and a nutritious meal at the table together is such a healthy family ritual that offers stability and a bright future for our next generation.
I always tell the adults who come in fuming about his kids or her kids, “they are the ones who will care for you as you age and become ill. They are the ones who will be with you as you draw your last breath preparing your funeral arrangements. They bury you. You may want to approach this with a bit more with Grace.”
If you need help blending call our office.
Love and peace,