When a couple meets and falls in love, things require a bit more thought when one or both members of the couple have children. While you want your children to adore your new partner and get along great with your partner’s children, that is not always the case. Things get even more complicated as a recovering addict and the stress that comes with a blended family. However, there is no need to worry. Blended families can come together successfully. The following tips are a great way to start.
Adjust Your Expectations
Don’t expect perfection. Give everyone time to adjust. One child may not immediately take to another, but given time they can find a way to live in harmony. Your child may not like your spouse as much as you had hoped. Some children may become concerned about your former addiction. Again, don’t panic, with some time and some work things can turn around. The important thing is, you shouldn’t push.
Agree and Work Together as A Couple
Both parents have to come to an agreement about discipline and important decisions. Never undermine each others authority. Listen to one another and come up with a plan that both partners agree on. Make sure that your partner ALWAYS supports you in recovery, and pushes you forward without kicking you down. This is not only crucial for recovery, but also for your marriage.
Never Speak Poorly About An Ex
It’s also wise to never make the children feel that they have to pick a side. When you speak poorly about their other parent, they may automatically dislike your new partner out of loyalty to their parents. This triples in cases where the separation may have come as fault of your addiction. This can be hard for everyone in the family, but owning up and growing from it is how you must continue through recovery. If you can maintain a cordial relationship with your new spouse’s, ex, the entire family will benefit. You don’t have to be best friends, but keep in mind that you are all on the same page.
Be United and Open in Making Decisions
Planning together as a family and allowing everyone to have open dialogue is crucial. This is true whether your family is blended or not. As your children grow to know you and the family dynamic, it’s important to hear what they are feeling and what solutions they may have. Family planning in our modern-day requires a bit more forward planning and thought on everyone’s part than it might have in the past. Everyone’s opinion matters and is needed. Sitting down and making thorough family plans and meetings is crucial. For example, when planning a family vacation, sitting down and discussing which locations to look into, can take time and adjustment, but it’ll be worth every minute. There are definitely resources out there to help get your family on the right track. You all want what is best for the children, and sometimes in recovery, you have to try twice as hard, stepparent or not. Parents and stepparents who can get along will go a long way in creating happy, well-balanced children that you want.
Spend Time With Your Stepchildren
Spend time with your stepchildren. Get to know them. Do something that they enjoy. They may not show it right away, but they will appreciate the effort. Let them in, help them know that you are in recovery and trying your best.
While you and your new spouse spent time together and choose one another, your kids didn’t fall in love with and choose this person. This is all new to them, they may need a bit of time to adjust. This is especially true if the children had hoped that you and your ex would get back together. If you and your ex have been apart for a long while and your child is used to having you all to him or herself, they may also feel that they are losing you to a new family.
Keep Your Sense of Humor
Keep your sense of humor. Don’t be angry that things aren’t going exactly how you envisioned. Do your best to make home a fun and loving place. The children will come around. Even when the kids seem to reject the idea of being a family, keep trying, keep smiling and above all, keep loving.
As an adult, it’s up to you to bring everyone together. The best way to do this is through patience, dedication, love and togetherness. Being in recovery, you know what being broken feels like, and the joy that comes with feeling together. Things will improve and soon you’ll wonder why you were ever worried or concerned. When there is love in a family, things often have a way of working out. It might just take a little bit of time.