This was a topic suggested for our July blog and it certainly is an interesting one. Many of you have heard that 50% of marriages, on average, end up in divorce. As if going through a divorce isn’t difficult enough, blending a new family can offer even bigger challenges.
The literature suggests that the most successful blended families occur when the parents have been divorced at least two years. This allows time for the children to adjust to their new life and establish some sense of a routine, whether they be full-time with one parent or 50/50 custody between both parents.
There are a few simple tips to remember as you begin to blend your family with you new spouse’s children. First and most important is to be civil and respectful to your ex’s. Over the years I have practiced in Hernando County, I have been in the middle of some contentious divorces and I’ll be honest…THE KIDS TAKE THE BRUNT OF IT. They do not belong in the middle of a long running argument or an unresolved issue with your ex. Be extremely careful to treat the children as if there were no ongoing issues with your ex. They are not adults and they are not a sounding board for your problems. While many parents battle over “who is the better parent,” the children get caught in the vortex of their bitterness often leading them down a path of anger, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression and addiction.
Second, before blending a family or even introducing your children to each other’s children, talk to your new partner and clarify your expectations. Communication is key in any relationship and this is a major change in everyone’s life.
Third, be patient with the process. Don’t expect to love each other’s children overnight. Take time to get to know them and build a relationship, the same way you did with your new partner.
Lastly, take time to grow as a couple. Many times the focus shifts from each other to the new blended family. Of course, it is important to focus on the adjustment of the children but not at the expense of each other.
If you are living in Hernando County and need help, please give me a call. I look forward to meeting you.