Recently we saw how Alicia Keys and her family have tackled being a blended family. While in the public eye all didn’t seem to well it helped us realize blended families can bring about its fair share of obstacles, from parental conflict to supreme awkwardness, there is potential for catastrophic situations almost every day.
Should you cut your losses and run for the hills? No. With some time, patience, and a true desire to have great relationships, a blended family can be the best thing to happen to you. Here are some practical tips on how to build the foundation for a happy and strong blended family:
1. PUT SOME #RESPECK ON IT!
If you’re coming in as the stepmother, you need to have respect for the kid’s birth mother. Unless she’s a killer, an abusive person, or a bad influence, you’ve got to understand that she has every right to her child. Many new stepmothers are jealous because they fear that the birth mother’s involvement with their child will turn the child against them. They also feel inadequate, especially if they don’t have kids themselves and will start comparing themselves to the birth mother.
It’s not easy being a stepmother in any situation. It can be an uncomfortable situation, especially if you don’t have kids yourself. You’ll make it easier on yourself if you avoid comparisons and respect the birth mother’s right to interact with her child…unless she’s a killer of course!
2) SUPPORT THE KID’S TRANSITION.
Moving from one household to another or being around a certain type of people and then having everything change can have a profound effect on children. You need to be understanding of that and be there for them during these tough times. Be prepared to listen, comfort, and show them that you’ll be there for them. There will be tough questions, lashing out, and some friction that will leave you speechless. That’s ok. No one can be fully prepared for something like this but if you’re there at crucial transition points, it’ll be an easier ride.
3) DON’T HOLD IT IN
We all need to vent. We all need someone that will listen to our worries and thoughts without judgment. Being a stepmother in a blended family can take its toll on you and bottling it all in will do more damage than good. Whether it’s speaking to another stepparent, a neighbor, or if you need to assemble the squad and vent over big glasses of red wine, the important thing is to let it out. It’s also best to find someone out of the family in order to avoid adding additional problems.
Let’s be clear here. It’s tough being in a blended family and you have so much thrown at you. Once you understand the situation, keep an open mind, and have support, it can be a blessing!