Blending two families has its challenges but the love and opportunities can far outweigh the struggles of adjusting to the blend! In an effort to smooth your way, we have some tips from blended families right here at Eastern Hills and resources that may get you to a “Happy Blend” more quickly. Blended families who have “been there and done that” have truth to share that can make your life better.
Arlee Renella is a part of our church family. She comes from a blended family and currently has a blended family of her own so she has great wisdom to share. The blended family she came from is not a blended family that worked well. Her parents each had a child from a previous marriage and then had two of their own. Arlee shared that her parents may not have had the communication needed to set rules to be used in their new blended family.
The parents needed to come together and work as a team and treat all kids the same. Arlee feels it is extremely important for the new blended parents to come together to set their own new family rules so all kids have same expectations including equal love for each child. Favoring one child over another can affect the children and cause feelings of being left out or being less than. Never let the kids feel like an outsider.
Arlee never wanted a blended family because of her unhealthy experience but that is where life took her. She learned from her parents’ mistakes and made choices for her blended family that led to co-parenting and being intentional to ensure the parents never go against one another.
Because rules were set ahead of time, the whole environment feels more solid and secure for all the kids. Simple things that matter are set boundaries and require respect for all children. Include all kids in special nights because there is no they or us but WE.
Never rule out counseling. Kids are dealing with a lot that parents are not able to address as well as a professional. Don’t rule out counseling for the parents either and family counseling is almost always a win. Arlee highly suggests that there is no price tag on this for the transition into a blended world.
Arlee shares that their faith unites them and she feels that the ultimate desire is that they love all the kids as God loves us. Where society standards may work against you, Arlee and her family choose their faith to outweigh the statistics of blended family failure.
Another member of our church family is Deborah Abbott and these are the top words of wisdom she wanted to share with other blended families navigating their way.
- Pray a lot.
- Set boundaries and stick with them related to the ex's.
- Do not say bad things about the children's parent.
- Create new memories and do not dwell on the past.
- Enjoy the good family memories with your children.
- Model forgiveness.
Join us next week for Part 2 of the conversation!