A Blended Family
Beautiful but challenging. My husband and I are a blended family, meaning our oldest son is not biologically his, when we met I already had a son. When I made the transition from single mother to being married and now having to share parental responsibilities with someone, it was tough, tough because as a single mom, my son was mine and mine alone, I made all the decisions and I took care of him. Now I was married and I had to share him and discuss all decisions about him with someone else before I made them, for someone who has been doing it alone for eight years, this was difficult. This is all crazy because I prayed and prayed for someone to come into our lives that wanted to be a father and would treat my son, Zac, like his own. This happened and I didn’t know how to allow it. Did I want my husband to be a sweet uncle that was always nice and approving or did I want a father who was going to shape my son into becoming a man, a man of his very own image? About my husband, Adrian is a tough man, who loves rules and everything to be structured. He owns his own company and manages 100 employees so he knows how to run a tight ship and this is a big part of who he is. He is used to teaching boys how to become men, he is a man’s man! About me, I am easy going and very laid back especially with the kids, I love to not plan and for things to just flow. I do not follow rules and when I say rules , I mean the rules of cooking, cleaning, anything , I tend to do my own thing and I also am a complete melt when it comes to my kids!
I believe in parenting from a nurturing place and my husband believes it’s important to have lots of rules in place. We try our best to co parent to the best of our abilities but we definitely struggle sometimes with agreeing which I’m sure lots of parents can relate to.
I decided to write this post because I believe that it is important to allow your significant other when going into a marriage with a child to fully take on the role as a parent. It’s okay to let go of the reigns a little and trust.
Allowing my husband to be a father to my son was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The impact he has had on Zac’s life has been great though. Zac has grown into a very capable growing boy who now can fit lights, attach door handles and do all sorts of things; he has also becomes less afraid and a lot more independent.
I have wanted to write about this for a long time. The struggles of a blended family can be difficult but so worth it once conquered. Not that we as a family has conquered it, I personally still struggle with so much.
I decided to do some research and this is what I came across: It’s important to be on the same page, kids need to know what the rules are and the rules need to stand. They need to know that their parents stand together not against each other. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Believe that neither of you is an opponent and that you both want the same for your family, you may just think about it or go about it in different ways. Talk a lot about parenting. Learn about each other’s philosophy about parenting and desires for your children. Respect differences. While your partner may value discipline and structure over nurturing and you value nurturing and communication, neither is inherently better and neither of you has the best answer for all of the children. Recognize that success is measured one experience at a time. Giant steps are celebrated but small steps must be noticed and appreciated as well. Remember, you will not be rearing children forever. Both of you got into the marriage with a plan to go the distance. Keep your love alive and your marriage protected from the stress and challenges inherent with step families. Unity within the couple’s relationship bridges the emotional gap between the stepparent and stepchildren and positions both adults to lead the family. If a biological parent is not willing to build such a bridge with the stepparent, the stepchildren will receive an unhealthy amount of power in the home. All they have to do is cry “unfair” and their parent protects them from the “mean, nasty” stepparent. This almost always results in marital tension, conflict, resentment, and isolation. If the biological parent doesn’t help the stepparent into a leadership position, the stepparent is likely to try to force his or her way in. This almost always results in resentment and resistance from the insiders. Again, jealousy, rejection, and anger are common resulting emotions. Early in remarriage parents should empower stepparents by communicating to the children their expectation of obedience. Later, even if you disagree with what the stepparent has done in your absence, support his or her position with the children. Then take your disagreement behind closed doors and work out a unified plan and consequences for the next offense. Let children set the pace for their relationship with the stepparent. Consider each child individually. Give and expect affection, nurturance, and emotional sharing only to the degree children appear open to it. Parents should consider the stepparent’s input into child rearing. It is easy for parents who are used to having complete control over their children to discount the stepparent’s perspective. Keep in mind that, as outsiders, stepparents can see things your blind spots prevent you from seeing. Listen and consider their input. Stepparents need to learn to be a nonjudgmental sounding board for parents. When parents get frustrated with their own children, they may confide in the stepparent. However, stepparents who begin to agree and add their own frustration may find their spouse reversing position to defend the child. The parent-child bond is indeed a protective one. Stepparents would do well to listen and affirm without criticizing the child. “I can see you are angry at Zac for lying to us. What do you suggest we do?” Finally, but most important, effective parent-stepparent teams begin with healthy marriages. Take time to nurture your relationship, date on a regular basis, learn to communicate and resolve conflict, and enjoy a healthy sexual relationship. Make your marriage a priority!