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Blended Family

Marriage Advice for Staying Close and Connected in Your Blended Family

By Susie and Otto Collins

It's been a long while since "The Brady Bunch" was on television. This popular and iconic 1970s American tv show portrayed a blended family along with all of their adventures and exploits.

The couple who married each had 3 children and the number of arguments, misunderstandings and mischief doubled as their family did the same.

Of course on a tv sitcom, the difficulties of a blended
family can seem amusing and light-hearted. After all, by the end of each program, whatever discord occurred was usually happily resolved.

In your own blended family, however, it probably doesn't feel very funny when difficulties arise.

If you are part of a blended family or are about to create one, you might be concerned about how to bring together previously unrelated people in a way that feels good to all.

You probably want to be the kind of step-parent who is liked and also respected. It's highly likely that you want your children and your spouse's children to feel comfortable with one another and start to form positive bonds.

Perhaps most of all, you certainly want to keep the
connected and passionate feelings you share with your mate strong and continuing to deepen!

Try these tips in your blended family...

Tip#1: Communicate clearly and honestly.
Know what you want from your relationship and within this new family. Being clear within yourself is vital before you begin to talk about this with your mate.

Communicate with your spouse and with your children the vision that you have as well as your priorities and expectations.

For example, How do you want to parent both your children and his or her children? Will there be different rules for each set of children? Who will primarily enforce those boundaries?

Tip #2: Learn from differences.
There will undoubtedly be differences in how you and your spouse parent just as there are differences in how each of us manage money or even how to go about cooking breakfast.

Before you created a blended family, there were probably differences among yourself and your children as well.

Instead of viewing your mate's (or his or her children's) ways of living as peculiar or opposed to your own, make a shift and ask yourself what you might learn from this difference.

You might even try out this behavior that is unlike what you usually do.

What are the benefits to this new way? How do you feel about it? If you don't choose to continue the behavior, at least you can better understand where the other person is coming from.

Tip #3: Don't take anything personally.
You can choose to get upset and offended by the tone of voice your step-daughter directs at you or by an offhanded and upsetting comment made to your own child by your spouse.

You could also decide not to take anything personally.

Does this mean that you act like you don't care about others or you never speak up when you'd like something to change?


When you stop taking things personally, you no longer see the actions or words of others as an indicator or even an extension of you.

You take responsibility for what you do and say and you offer support. You even set boundaries.

But you allow others to have their experiences without feeling like it's all your "fault" or that you have to 'fix it" for them.

Tip #4: Celebrate all victories.
Pay close attention to signs that all is well. You might be tempted to analyze interactions between your children and your mate's children or between others in your blended family.

If you need to take a close look at how everyone
seems to be getting along, be sure that you are noticing the smooth and harmonious times as well as those that are rockier!

If there seem to be many clashes in your home,
this might take some vigilant observation. See if there is anything at all that is improving or improved in your family or life and also offer that your attention.

Celebrate even the smallest of victories for your new
family. These are times when you sense that, as a group, you all are moving closer to the vision you have.

It might be that you feel a subtle turn in that direction-- that counts too!

The more that you notice the "good" stuff, the more
good stuff there will be to notice.

Tip #5: Remember why you got together in the first place.
In the midst of the transitions in your life which may be filled with coordinating schedules, adapting to preferences and habits and other concern, don't forget what drew you to your spouse in the first place.

Set aside regular time when you and your love can truly focus in on each other-- with no distractions.

Instead of using your alone time to hash out how to handle a family issue, savor the passion you feel for one another and open up to new ways to connect.

It's too easy to get caught up in the dilemmas and
worries that feel overwhelming at times.

Let those go-- even for just a few moments-- and simply be together in this moment.

It doesn't matter if you are making love, cuddling, or just holding hands on a quiet walk in the woods.

Create that regular time as a couple and dive right in to each other and the love you share.


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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