What is the best advice for a couple planning to blend families with children?
Play some "get-to -know each other" games. Have each person write down silly or interesting facts about themsleves and put them in a hat or bowl. Plan a fun outing and then draw slips from the hat. Have each person guess who the fact applies to, then fess up. Another game could be a random questionnaire about places you've been or things you have done. See who has commonalities. These are good ice-breakers for kids and parents alike. If there are many kids, draw for teams from each age group and prepare dinner or decorate for a party, etc.
Honestly, from experience...know what your getting into. I didn't give it enough time myself and walked into a pre-made family looking through rose-colored glasses. It was quite a culture shock and some of the most stressful first years of our marriage. I wasn't prepared at all.
If you have to deal with your spouses ex, I would say make sure you know all you can about them and evaluate if you will be able to be apart of their life for the rest of yours. When you marry blended families, you 'marry' the ex too (at least until the children are independents).
In addition, make sure you already have a good relationship with your spouses children.
I think it is very important to talk with your future spouse about how you two will raise children in a blended family. Who disciplines, what's acceptable, etc. If you two do not stay united, the ex or children may take great advantage of that as we've had happen in our early years. Make sure your spouse is sensitive your part of their childrens lives as well. Every decision they make for their children will affect you and yours as well.
There are so many things to consider thinking from my own experience and mistakes, but it's late and I'm probably not using my brain to it's fullest potential. If I think of anything else, I will surely let you know as I wish I would have sought out advice prior. Though things are much better than they were, we had a VERY rough beginning of our marriage due to a lack of planning and communicating all of these subjects.
Yes! Both spouses need to agree on house rules and child rearing decisions under their own roof. It is important not to let a child who is clearly unhappy w/ a rule undermine your authority. Don't cave when hurtful comparisions are thrown at you.
I also added another section to my recently posted hub about having a great relationship with your step-children called Lavish them with love, not things, if you want to check it out.
Cat on a soapbox and Amberjewell both have great advice. Know what you are getting into before hand is a huge one. My husband and I got lucky with our blended family as our boys are both very young and our ex's are not involved with their lives. But in the case that the ex's are involved, be aware of their feelings towards the relationship. There can often be hostility towards an ex's new spouse, but when children are involved, the feelings are amplified. Make sure that the ex is aware that you are not trying to 'replace' them in the child's life. If possible, get together as a family, and invite the ex along. This will help them realize that your an addition and that noone is kicking them out. (of course this only works if everyone is on good terms) If the children are younger, it won't be as difficult for them to cope with the idea that there is someone new in the picture. If they are older, however, things will become complicated. Make sure that you and your new spouse are on the same page with how you each raise the children. You both may need to change the way some things are done, but eventually, you need to agree on how things should be done. You and your spouse should sit the children down and explain what is going on, regardless of their age. They need to know that even though you are not 'mom' to his children, and he is not 'dad' to yours, that respect will still be expected and rules are still expected to be followed. It will be difficult to step in and discipline his children at first, but if you don't, they will never respect or appreciate you. You'll just be dad's new wife, and I'm sure that is not what you want. Also, understand that you will show favortism towards your own child. It's natural and it will take time to get use to sharing your time between them. Try getting to know your spouse's children with some one on one time. He should do the same with yours. Go out to eat and the movies. Take them shopping or for a day at the beach. Make it a whole day thing with no time limits. My husband and I did this a lot in the beginning and it helped us to bond with each others child. It also shows them that they are a priority and that you love them and are here for them. It gives them an opportunity to open up to you, and you should feel free to do the same. If they are old enough, discuss the marriage and ask how they feel about it.
I hope this helps you some, and I wish you luck with your family!
I agree with the idea of keeping everyone involved. I am semi-recently(2 years) divorced and in a new relationship.
My situation is a little different as the person I am in a relationship with now has been in my childrens lives so it was not a "new" person being introduced into the mix. However we have "family" holidays where mommy and my new partner and daddy and his new partner are all welcome to. I think its super important that the family "unit" grow rather then be broken into two seperate families (athough this is not always possible - I realize I got lucky).
You have super advice here, the games, the know what your getting into etc.
My advice is take the transittion slowly, let the children lead the way. My gues is before you know it this will be no issue as the children will be fighting like siblings early on. Good luck!
I have 6 children and my girlfriend (fiancee soon) has 2 children. It is important that the two parents have the same views on child raising...or at least real close. We are on the same page with what the kids are allowed to do and not do, discipline etc...We introduced the kiddos and let them kind of integrate themselves. We watched them get to know each other and play...and fight just like naturals do. We let them know that we have 8 kiddos and not 6 & 2...they are all treated equally.
Blending families is not an easy task. There are many issues to consider in putting together the parts of two separate families. Many of the important issues needing your attention are identified in this article. read more
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