Is there life after the ravages of most divorces?
We hope there is.
When one is fortunate enough to find love again, this new special partner usually has been either divorced or widowed and has children also.
As the relationship commitment deepens, so does the desire to want to create another family unit as an expression of this deeper commitment.
This involves blending of two families.
We have watched television shows that can make us believe there may be a few bumps but basically everyone is able to make the adjustments to a blended family. Unfortunately, what is rarely shown to the public, are the skills needed to make this complex family unit functional and long-lasting. In reality, blended families have not had overwhelmingly successful track records. Many of these unions again result in devastating divorces, again.
With the proper knowledge, preparation and wisdom, there is every opportunity to find happiness again, and this time may actually be far more meaningful and worth all the effort and time it takes to get there.
The most important skills to have in creating a successful blended family is an honest evaluation by both adults involved, of their own individual levels of self-esteem. If you read other articles on my website related to self-esteem you will see that self-esteem embodies self-respect, self-awareness, self-discipline, patience, honesty, compassion, empathy, tolerance, accountability, empathic listening skills, humility, maturity and humour to name a few. All of these are essential in transforming everyone involved into a comfortable blended family.
The children from two different worlds do need time to acclimatize to this new reality. It should be done slowly and thoughtfully. Rushing into one home without a foundation of friendship and trust between all members is a prescription for disaster. If it takes some years, so be it. This will be well worth the success that will follow for so many years.
parents, the stepparent must have the self-esteem to realize it is not their place to offer opinions that are not theirs to share. As trust is built, opinions and deeper relationships surely can be built but putting the cart before the horse, by walking into an authoritative position is not in the children's best interests or any of the adults involved.
If a stepparent builds this trust with their stepchildren well, the rewards can be beyond one's expectations. These children grow to respect and seek out the opinions and influences of their stepparents who they do grow to love and cherish.
Many stepparents feel lost as to their role with their stepchildren. Many books will give detailed accounts of what is acceptable or not. Basically I feel that a stepparent must first secure the trust of future stepchildren as being fair, loving, respectful and fun. A stranger cannot come in and usurp the roles and relationships of biological parents. Period. Even if the stepparent does not agree with the biological
A German proverb says it well: “Patience is a bitter plant but it bears sweet fruit."
Be the type of stepparent you would like to have and blending families can give all involved renewed trust and hope that lives can be expanded and rebuilt well.
For the two adults who have come out of either a divorced or widowed past, above all, be honest about whether or not you have fully processed your grief. If you have not, you will consciously or unconsciously play this out badly with your new partner.
Risa Ennis Family Mediation and Counselling Services
Telephone: (416) 636-2946
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