Advice for Staying Close and Connected in Your
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Celebrate even the smallest of victories for your
family. These are times when you sense that, as a
group, you all are moving closer to the vision you
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
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
Set aside regular time when you and your love
can truly focus in on each other-- with no
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
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.