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Boundaries & Blended Families

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For blended families, there is excitement, anticipation and hope for starting over as they embark on their new life together. Those of us who have weathered the storm of divorce and have finally found the courage and strength to try marriage once again know there will be challenges.  

Blending families can be difficult, but there are steps to building your new family you can take to help you along the wayRedefining boundaries and taking a close look at where things didn’t succeed the first time around can lead to a brighter path for your future. 

Following a divorce, learning how to be alone is the most important step to take before jumping into a new relationshipTime can help heal old wounds and, with a little bit of humility and clarity, can also help you leave your “old baggage” at the curb, and not bring it into a new relationship. 

Your newfound inner strength can be an asset that can only enhance your new relationship. Once this is achieved and you are ready to create a blended family, keep in mind that a strong foundation starts with trust, honor and respect—first with self, then with others. 

Here are seven simple rules to keep in mind with regard to creating healthy boundaries for blended families: 

  1. Seek professional counseling in order to repair broken dreams and unrealistic expectations of the past. Otherwise, these problems may continue to permeate your new relationship.   
  2. Beware of disciplining your new spouse’s biological children alone in order to avoid resentments being misplaced.  
  3. Avoid criticizing the other biological parent and stay neutral. Acceptance does not have to mean approval. 
  4. Find the“seeds of greatness” in all family members and try to focus on the positive in each personwhich may also include your ex-spouse.  
  5. Take time to earn trust from new family members. Allow your kids to trust your new spouse in their own way and on their own terms. It takes time and cannot be forced. 
  6. Be a united front with your spouse; avoid creating a triangle in which your kids put you against your spouse or vise versa. 
  7. A stepparent is there to offer support ,not to parent the other spouse’s biological children.

It is critical to continue to have open discussions with all parties involved in order to create and design a harmonious vision of what is expected in coming together as a new, blended family. Being a united team/family means being flexible, realistic and consistent with our boundaries. Hopefully, these seven simple rules can be useful in helping the blended family build a new foundation based on trust, honor and respect. 

By // Darcy Child with Iris Look 

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