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Blended Family & Step
By Susie and Otto Collins
Matt always wanted a big family and now that he's
married to Corey, he's got it. Between the two of
them, they now have 5 children, plus the two of
But this is not the way he envisioned his big, happy
family to be. In fact, there seems to be a
whole lot of unhappy with a bit of tolerable thrown
If you are a step-parent, or have a blended family,
you probably know where Matt is coming from.
As hard as you try to keep things harmonious and
loving, there are challenges and bumps along the
way-- sometimes a lot of them.
It's true. In any family, there are certainly
challenges and unhappy moments (or more than just a
But, some of the situations and dynamics in blended
families can be unique. In many respects, you are
thrown together in close and intimate space with
people whom you don't really know well.
You and your spouse are trying to create a marriage
that is healthy, trust-filled and passionate. You
also possibly want to feel close and connected with
your spouse's children-- and that your spouse will
enjoy a closeness with your own children.
It can get tricky to navigate all of these budding
Try these success tips if you are step-parent...
Work with instead of against your
If you and your mate both have children, there may
be occasions during which you feel torn. Perhaps
there is a disagreement or conflict that involves
your partner and your child.
Whose "side" do you choose?
We recommend that you attend to both relationships
without choosing either "side." Ask yourself if this
disagreement truly involves you.
Quite often, it really doesn't. In many cases, the
people involved in a conflict can effectively come
to a peaceful resolution on their own.
Is your child asking for you to become involved? If
he or she is, perhaps you could listen to your child
talk about what's going on during a private
There might be situations in which your child feels
unsafe or unheard.
Please pay attention if this happens. You might help
him or her practice saying what needs to be said.
You could even agree to be present during the
conversation that your child has with your mate
about the disagreement-- you would remain
silent or possibly re-state what your child said if
that is wanted.
*If at any time you discover that your child
feels fear for his or her physical or emotional
safety, follow up and discover what's going on and
take appropriate action.
We don't recommend that you step in and try to solve
the conflict between your child and your partner.
You can be a listener and even offer feedback when
it's asked for-- from your spouse as well.
Matt realizes that he tends to try to intervene
whenever he senses conflict between Corey and one of
his daughters. This almost always leads to both his
daughter and Corey being irritated with him-- as
well as at one another.
The next time that a disagreement arises, he plans
to make himself available to both Corey and his
daughters, but not to get involved unless he is
Don't take it personally
Even though your partner loves you and wants to
spend time with you--after all, he or she married
you-- your mate's children might not want much to do
As cool, loving, funny, interesting or parental as
you try to be, your step-child or step-children may
take awhile to accept you.
There is really no guarantee that they will ever
like you or even love you.
Don't take any of this personally. Try to stay open
and tuned in to what your step-children are asking
Perhaps they are expressing interest in you and want
to get to know you. Perhaps they are wanting space
to process how they are feeling and the changes that
are going on in their lives.
You can't demand or force their love or even like.
You can expect respect.
Make it a household policy that you will all respect
one another. Be specific about what being respectful
means to each of you and then hold everyone--
including yourself-- accountable.
In the midst of a busy family life, be sure that you
are making time for just you and your mate. Create
space and time for the passion and connection that
brought you together.
If you'd like more tips for how to have a close and
passionate relationship, check out Susie and Otto
Collins' free report:
to a Great Relationship"