Creating a Blended Family Takes Time and A lot Of Effort
Transitioning into a blended family is one of life’s greatest challenges. This is largely because it’s a long, complex process with many different factors creating unique situations for all those involved. Essentially, no two people experience relationships in the same way. The ambiguity increases when many people are involved. This is why creating a successful blended family can be so challenging. Read on for our Calgary divorce lawyer’s tip on how to be a successful co-parent in a blended family.
Get Blending AKA Spend Quality Time Together
As with any new relationship, people need to spend quality time together to get to know one another. It’s best to start with neutral activities such as playing a sport, attending a concert or having a games night. Create new family rituals and traditions. This will help the whole family bond and unite as a whole. Plan to incorporate one new weekly ritual such as family trips to the park on the weekends or taking turns coming up with a menu for dinner and helping to prep the meal. This ensures everyone is included in the decision making of the family. Regular family meals also stimulate conversation and allow everyone to learn about each others daily lives. From here, let your step-children set the pace, they will let you know how fast or slow they want to go.
Set Clear Parenting Expectations
It’s never easy for a child to adapt to having a step-parent. You can help make this process easier on the whole family by setting clear parenting expectations and roles. As soon as possible, start the conversation about how you intend to discipline, motivate, encourage, and show affection to your step-children. Who will be in charge of making the rules, who will enforce them and who is really in charge… these are the questions that need to be addressed. Discipline is surely to be the most difficult to navigate. The success of this will come from establishing your role in the family. Let the kids know you aren’t there to replace their mother/father. And remember, while you can’t force children to like or love you, you can require a standard level of respect.
Have A Plan For Shared Holidays
Any events that involve the whole family getting together, including ex partners is sure it be awkward. This can be birthday parties, weddings, graduations, etc. It will take time and practice to be able to enjoy these events as a blended family. Whenever possible, try to promote a shared celebration. Kids generally prefer this method, especially if everyone gets along. Obviously, this can only work if everyone is cordial and respectful to one another. It’s generally a good idea to hold these events in a neutral place such as a community hall or school. Finally, make sure that everyone attending the event is aware of the guest list so there are no surprises on the day of the event.
If you are considering divorce and need legal advice, connect with us to set up an initial consultation.