Currently, with so many divorces and remarriages involving children, the question of how to harmoniously blend a family is often asked. This is much easier for families without a lot of bitter hurt feelings. Regardless blending a family can be a delicate matter.
I learned from personal experience that it is best not to rush things and to take things slowly. Of course, the ages of the children and their initial reaction to the divorce of their parents need to be considered as well. It is a much easier transition if the children on both sides get along prior to the blending. This is much easier if the children are receptive to the unfamiliar environment they children are being moved.
The attitude of the parents will affect the children’s outlook. If managed correctly blending a family can be a pleasant and even fun experience. I have heard parents refer to the blended family as a bonus family. The more positive everyone’s attitude is the easier and more successful the blending will go.
The best advice is to start out slowly but also set boundaries to that everyone knows what the rules are. If boundaries are not set children tend to play the parents against each other and this can easily lead to a toxic situation that is hard to resolve and can lead to yet another divorced family and nobody genuinely wants that.
The fewer changes and disruptions to the children’s lives during the transition the easier it will be on everyone. Parents on both sides need to reassure the children regardless of their ages that they are still loved and that they will still be there for them.
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Every family has traditions of their own for celebrating birthdays and holidays. However, it is wise to consider creating new ones within the blended family. There could be holidays and birthdays when you will need to plan your celebration on an alternate day because of children spending time with the other parent. Just be willing to be flexible.
Depending on the ages of the children consider involving them in planning some family activities or celebrations. It is a much healthier environment for the children when all the parents get along. You never want to make the children feel they must choose one parent over the other. The less stress everyone feels the happier and more harmonious the living environment will be for all.
There is a Christmas tradition I started when my children were small that is executed to this day. We would gather on Christmas Eve and each child got to open one present which was always new pyjamas. Since Christmas Day is celebrated with a big traditional meal Christmas Eve is either chilli night or finger foods depending on how much time we have together and the weather. I live in the South where the weather could be anything from warm and balmy to cold and windy on Christmas.
Christmas Day is a festive day where everyone shows up in their pyjamas. Even my dog grudgingly wears his pyjamas on Christmas Day. It is a very festive time filled with good times and laughter. We do a standard gift exchange. After all the gifts are opened, starting with the youngest to the oldest, the children find a card on the tree with their name on it and must follow 3 to 5 clues to find their “biggie” gift.
I have enjoyed watching my children and my grandchildren chase around the house looking for their gifts. It is extremely sweet watching my children’s faces as they watch their children chasing after their “biggie” gift. I have shared this idea with friends and families struggling to blend their families. All said it was a wonderful idea and helped the family create new memories.
With the Internet, there is lots of information out there for you to research and make things personalized and fit your own likes and needs. The most important advice I can give is to relax and enjoy each other and make new memories. It will not always be smooth sailing, but every family has their ups and down blended or not. So, relax enjoy making new memories and take lots of pictures.