Blended families are unique in many respects. Some say they are the family of the future, and that likelihood is probably pretty much on target. Today we see many dating sites for parents without partners, either from a widow or widower perspective, from a divorce, or simply from the perspective of a single person who had decided to have a child. These individuals often find themselves looking for the “other half” to complete their family. More often than not, the other half may have children as well. It is indeed complicated.
One of the most challenging parts of blending a family is accepting differences and embracing change. In my new book, Blended Families Recipes for Success, acceptance is one of the first recipes offered. While acceptance can be important for all relationships, in the blended family it is crucial. We are all unique, and we see the world through our own filter. Then we are joined with others from other families, and we are asked to “blend” this new family.
So let’s see how this can work to our benefit. Instead of finding negatives, let’s look for positives. What new activities can your spouse’s children share from their previous family that may be interesting to try? Just having an extra hand around the house to help with family chores is also a plus. Maybe your dog-walking days are shared now. What about driving a snarling teen to school who thinks that riding the bus is not cool? Yes, these may be small additions to life, but watch them grow to bigger ones. Look what qualities your new children have, and remember their DNA comes 50% from your spouse. You found your new spouse loving enough to marry or commit to, so there must be some things in their kids that you can find loving, too. The key is to look for good qualities. They may not be right in front of you, but they are certainly there.
Remember we cannot change others, no matter how hard we try.
Accepting the uniqueness of the new children and seeing the unique ways they can add to the family makes the family value-added. What we value, we generally pursue and hold dear. We live our lives on our unique principles and do our best to follow them. Adding children can bring value to a family in many ways, but first, the children need to be accepted for who they are.
Want more tips on making a blended family work?