Blended families are the new families of our time. Step-parents, co-educated children, sometimes half-brothers. Shared custody requires a whole organization. This generates a lot of emotions.
It also requires great flexibility and a lot of creativity to renew oneself, and to deal with this new reality: different sources and a history with several strains.
I've read this on social media for some time now: "My partner's daughter lives with us in shared custody, and our relationship is very difficult, I can't communicate with her anymore and This creates tension with my spouse. This is an increasingly common comment, still very taboo and which awakens many evils.
This situation is touching and full of meaning. We always want to do well, to be loved and accepted, but when it goes less well, it generates a lot of emotions and a lot of misunderstanding. fear of rejection, anger, sadness at not being able to feel affection for children, communication difficulties and fear of deeper conflicts for thecouple.
Along the way
Taking care of each other's children is an extraordinary dedication, and even if we never imagined educating children from a first marriage, when it happens, it is quite normal that there is adjustments to be made to tune the new family.
It's complicated to start the story along the way. The children have memories, they received another education and they went through the separation from their parents. They are therefore more sensitive, sometimes more fragile and above all, they need benchmarks to rebuild. This generally involves more reactions, more opposition also because, in order to have stable reference points, children need a coherent base and to feel a lot of love.
This love is not self-evident! It builds and sometimes even provokes us. Because if it is difficult to raise your own children, we are even more sensitive with the children of the other, because it is a land to explore, to discover and above all, a perpetual step in the past of the other. This is a real challenge.
Blended families increase the difficulties because several actors, facts and habits are connected.
Form a team
First of all, it is important to name our difficulties to our spouse. It is important to feel that we form a team to better understand decision-making and express our needs. If we deny his condition, there is a good chance that anger and frustration will remain. However, if wesimply expresses what we feel, it is easier to take care of our emotions without letting a situation escalate.
You have to remember that children are children. It is up to us to limit our expectations, refine our interventions, go back to basics. Be patient too, because time remains a determining factor.
Adaptation and Indulgence
Also, prepare for the children's return (or departure) to minimize outbreaks of stress and arguments. Everyone is adapting, and often our achievements have to be redone, so indulgence must be master! In general, returns and departures are more difficult, so it is possible to arrange everyone's daily life so as not to have too much on their shoulders and respect everyone's pace.
Again, it is important not to take children's reactions too personally. It is he althy for children to express themselves, and necessary for them to react in order to find (or regain) their place. To do this, it is sometimes necessary to observe, to withdraw, to allow them to reclaim the places, the atmosphere and the way of doing things.
Here are some tips.
- Think about setting up time slots where each child can fill their love tank with the parent and the step-parent. These are special moments to reconnect, to regain energy.
- Set up common closeness moments where nothing is organized, just enjoying time together,without requirement or instruction.
- Try to let children manage their conflicts as often as possible. Often they find their own solutions.
- Try to meet the children's needs without worrying too much about how they express them.
- Provide space for children to express their emotions, even if some things may be hard to hear. With respect, it is possible to better understand how everyone feels and we must dare to say things to each other, even those that are angry.
Time and Tolerance
It's totally normal to feel conflicting emotions, we don't like to change our ways, so it confronts us to have to make an effort, especially when what we assume was not a choice at the time. departure. But if we purify our conflicts, we always realize that it is a lack of communication that is lacking, that we repress our needs or that we feel guilt in the face of our feelings.
We then take one step at a time towards the reconstruction of solid foundations. To get there, you need time, hindsight, tolerance… Love has many facets. Feel free to draw your own story!