Sarah L wrote:
I’ve been dating the most wonderful guy for two years and we just got engaged a few months ago. He has two kids from a previous marriage and I have one from an ex as well. I was wondering if you have any tips on how we can merge the two families in a positive and simple way? Anything you have to say would be helpful.
Blended families (as these types of families are called) don’t have a “proven” method to merging together effectively. It appears as if you’ve dated each other for awhile, so this shouldn’t come as any sudden change for them. Try to keep in mind the following points as well and hopefully things go smoothly:
- Don’t expect you and your kids to just blend perfectly with your partner’s children. Get used to being together often but don’t expect harmony right off of the bat. Love and affection take time to develop.
- Experience “real life” moments. If you haven’t already, try to do something like take a vacation together or going camping. In a close quarters, multi-day environment, things will seem more real than if your kids are used to just seeing his once in awhile.
- Make a parenting plan before you say I do. You will need to work as a team to ensure things run smoothly so you’ll need to always have each other’s backs. This may mean compromising at times and will take some patience, so start practicing now.
- Earn and enforce respect. This goes for everyone. Parents set the example in how they talk with each other and resolve conflict. You can’t insist people like each other but you can insist that they treat one another with respect.
- Pennies in a pond. Don’t think it’ll be all love and peace right from the start. Invest piece by piece, like pennies in a pond. They may seem like little moments when you’re experiencing them, but they add up, so make sure they’re positive moments and that they are beneficial, foundation building moments for each person’s relationship.
I hope it goes well!