Best Words Of Wisdom For Successfully Raising A Step Family

Best Words Of Wisdom For Successfully Raising A Step Family

With recent studies showing that 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce with percentages rising to 70 if both spouses have children from a previous marriage, it’s no wonder why blended families are so difficult to manage.  Speaking from my own personal experience, here’s my top ten best words of wisdom for successfully raising a stepfamily.

  1. Enter in knowing there will be challenges- Have the mindset that this may be a bumpy path in the beginning, a winding path in the middle, but a path that leads to a beautiful destination in the end.
  2. Set expectations from the beginning- Talk about how visitation is going to look and be consistent with what you and your ex decide.  Children will accept this new life better if they aren’t tossed around haphazardly from house to house.  Also, decide between parents what each of you expect from each other and map out each one’s role in their lives. Agree that you won’t keep tallies of the other one’s mistakes and that at the end of the day, every decision will have solely the welfare of the children in mind.
  3. Don’t rush things- Let it simmer because it’s going to take time. It’s not a magic towel that you add water to and in a matter of seconds you have a perfectly sized family.  You may have chosen your new spouse but your kids didn’t get a say in choosing their new family.  Give them time and remember…love isn’t entitled…it’s earned.
  4. Continue to spend moments alone with your biological children- Children NEED some separation at times so that they don’t feel they’ve lost their relationship with their original parent. Keeping time alone with your child maintains their level of norm and gives them a sense of security, which will help them accept the family you want to become.
  5. Accept that your Ex or your spouse’s ex is NOT the enemy- Respect each other and get it out of your mind that they are secretly out to get you.  Reassure them that they are the original parent and that you have no intention on trying to overstep your role. Children need to see that even though you may not have the same way of doing things, you still honor the fact that they are the mom or dad.
  6. Co-Parent instead of compete- Whether you want to believe this or not, your ex and your husband’s ex are part of your extended family now. You can try to parent without them, but the only thing that will be left from trying to alienate them is a stressful you and an unhappy anxious kid.
  7. Keep the old traditions while making new ones- Creating a new family tradition will help you bond together and unite your family, but allowing the kids to keep some of their old rituals will ease them into this new and different world.
  8. Be careful not to bad mouth your ex in front of your child- Yes, there will be things you and your ex disagree on…that’s probably why they’re your ex, but keep in mind that no matter what you’re feeling, they are still your child’s dad or mom.  There will be times where it’s necessary to sit down and discuss things with your husband but do NOT do it in front of the kids. It will damage your relationship with your stepchildren and create an underlining pressure that they somehow need to choose sides.
  9. Nurture your relationship with your new spouse- Marriages need time together, but especially in a step family. It’s really important to secure some time with just you and your spouse and protect your time as a couple. Although you will need to talk about parenting to  understand each other’s philosophy, there should be separate times allotted to just be reminded of why you fell in love in the first place.
  10. Keep your child the focus- If you stand still and promise to keep the child and the child ONLY at the center of your focus…decisions will become clear and good things will become of it.

Stepfamilies, to me, are like jigsaw puzzles. It takes a bit of moving around the pieces to figure out what fits, but once you do, you finally get to see the bigger picture, and enjoy the view everyone worked so hard to get. One of my favorite quotes from, to me describes it best when it says, “Blood makes you related but loyalty makes you family.”

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