Dating is fun and cool, but what happens when you’ve got kids involved? New relationships are wonderful and spectacular, finding that special someone leaves you feeling as if you are on cloud nine, but we cannot forget those adorable little people! What happens when it’s that time to take things to the next level?
A certain level of respect has to be developed for each person; Just because we you may not have contact with the step family doesn’t mean that they don’t play a certain role in the child’s life. For example, your step-child’s mom may have a tradition, respect that tradition, and know that you can create new traditions with them. Respect each other as individual and as a whole.
They Will Walk All Over You
Respect your spouse as well, but don’t be over sympathetic of certain situations. Make rules that both of you can live by and stick by them. This will give those little one’s a lesser chance to walk all over you with their made-up rules. Repetition is what shows kids that you aren’t going anywhere.
Don’t Speak Ill of The “Other” Family
You will have to have contact with the “other family”, whether it be for special occasions or drop-offs. If you can’t fight nice with your ex, don’t give yourself the opportunity to. If you need to have a discussion, with heated words, have a discussion in private, behind closed doors. Kids feed off of your emotions and whatever you may feel they will likely feel it as well. This is probably a confusing time for them, mom is married to some strange dad and dad is married to some strange woman! They don’t need the added confusion of anger and frustration.
Friends? I think Not!
You may think being the friend to your child is what you need to do to get on their good side; but you’re the parent, you may not be a parent to them by blood, but you are a parent by choice and you need to do what is best for them whatever the circumstance. With disciplining the others’ child, make sure you both have an agreement that, that is ok to do. Most fighting between couples comes from their children trying to dupe them.
Be CONSISTENT. If you’ve made traditions, big or small, keep them. If you have a special tradition with your kids, be sure to keep that. Make new traditions with all of them but don’t take away something that your kids. That results in resentment. Doing things separately isn’t a bad thing, it makes everyone appreciate the
things that you do when you do things all together.
For those with older kids, call monthly family meetings. Let this be a time for business and fun. A family meeting could last five minutes or it could last a few hours. Go out to dinner, enjoy a movie; Anything that you can do as family to make yourselves more cohesive as a family unit.
Even if you didn’t birth them or if you aren’t related by blood, you’re still a family. Making it work may not be the easiest thing in the world but with a little hard work you’ll be sure to have the most picture perfect, totally awesome and super cool family on the block!