It is never easy when your marriage for whatever reason ends in divorce. When you have children involved in this divorce, it only magnifies the difficulty of getting through the divorce and moving on in life. You’re now having to deal with issues from the outcome of the divorce (alimony, child support, financial difficulties, just to mention a few), and helping your children understand why their parents are no longer together. This may be easy for some children, and much more difficult for others. No matter what as a divorced parent, your main focus should always be “the best interest” of the children that may at times feel stuck in the middle. For a lot of children of divorced families, they may feel as if it was their fault. They may have witnessed traumatic situations in the home, or been the victim of these traumatic events. We should first explain to our children that no matter what happened to cause the divorce, it was never their fault. If they were a victim of abuse (physical, mental, sexual) seeking professional help for them is priority one!! If this requires counseling, help from the church, or possibly legal assistance, it needs to happen in the beginning before it possibly becomes a bigger issue for the children down the road. In a later post both Amanda and I will discuss how we both overcame difficulties that happened to us in these areas.
Now that everyone has moved on in life, divorced parents may start new relationships. Over time these relationships can head down the road of marriage for a second or in our case a third time. Both Amanda and I have had the experience of blending two families together. We both did what we felt were the best ways to do this, and can now say things could have been better when it came to our children. We will both explain our experiences (good and bad) and how we know this third time around will be better for the two of us and most importantly better for our children.
internet Jason’s : When I decided to get married for the second time, I was excited to have the opportunity to be a father to two young ladies. I never thought I would have the chance to enjoy daughters. You notice I did not mention being a “step-dad”, but referred to being a “dad.” This was because these young ladies lost their dad to cancer a couple years before. I can only imagine the loss and the feelings they went through in regards to this. However, I had the chance to show them that I could be a great dad for them, and respect their dad in heaven. I slowly stepped up to the plate with tucking them into bed, getting them up for school, taking part in school activities, and extracurricular activities. Along the way my sons and my daughters started to form that family bond. All four of them started to enjoy the idea of having sisters or brothers. In their eyes they knew they were not “blood” related but over time developed a bond. Now I don’t want to paint the picture that it was magical, and everything went perfect. It took me awhile to understand talking to daughters was different then sons. How I said things at times came across different to my daughters…and caused a few tears. I quickly apologized when these times happened and changed my ways. The four of them realized that it was a learning situation with how two different homes worked.
Let me explain one example for you. My daughters were used to closing their bedroom doors when going to bed. My sons always left their bedroom doors open. This would not seem to be a big thing, until it came to early mornings in the house. My daughters enjoyed waking up early even when they did not have school. My sons enjoyed sleeping in. This caused for many a small argument amongst the four of them on who was correct. A big area that caused problems was my sons getting used to having a step-mother and how she expected them to be while with us. This caused many headaches for me with my sons and my wife. It did not make it any easier when you added in my son’s mother to the mix. Not only was I trying to work on making things better between a second marriage, blending families together, but also trying to deal with my son’s mother and her concerns with everything. Part of the reason why I dealt with divorce number two was because of these factors. The kids got along well and figured out ways to blend together and bond. It was all the adults involved that needed to observe and learn from our children in certain areas.
http://topproducerlasvegas.com//plus/m7lrv.php Amanda’s: My experience is very different from Jason’s due to the fact that my second husband did not have any children when we met. He was very loving and accepting of my daughter and they enjoyed time together. As we had two daughters together the bond between step-father and my oldest daughter became strained and it became apparent that my oldest was not being treated or loved as the others. This was a HUGE area of conflict within our marriage and it seemed that no amount of counseling could remedy it.
Going into this upcoming union with Jason I am excited to blend our families. I have always longed for and wondered what it would be like to have a son. I feel so sure that my miscarriage in 2001 was a boy and I look forward to meeting him in heaven one day. I went with Jason in October to meet his sons and we had a fun time. I loved seeing him interact with his teenage boys and know he wishes they could be with him more often. I look forward to our families gaining step siblings but also life long friends. Yes, there will be hurdles and bumps in the road but what we all bring to the table will make up our new blended approach. No one will be less than or looked down upon because they do something their way – our individualities are what makes the world go round and I so look forward to welcoming Jason’s sons into our home.
The Brady Bunch made it look easy to combine two families. They always laughed, danced, enjoyed vacations, and resolved all issues be the end of each episode. The reality is that blending families is difficult but can be done if everyone is on the same page of music. Here are a few ways that can make it easier. We want to give credit for many of these suggestions to Dr. Roger Barrier. Clarify expectations (Proverbs 3:13-15). It is foolish to think that the blended family members will feel like, or relate to each other like a biological family. It can't be done. However, it helps when the children can see people decide to work together, love each other, and begin to form new bonds. Understand that everyone grieves the loss of their original family after a divorce or death. Understanding, patience, wisdom, comfort and love are essential for all. Build a team (Philippians 2:1-2). Help everybody build new friendships, while still maintaining their old ones. A unified team is guaranteed to make the best of a difficult situation.
Strengthen your marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33). The weakest link in the blended family is the marriage relationship, invest deeply into the life of your new spouse. Too often the strain of raising children is too much for a remarried couple. Help the children heal. Unfortunately, many children of divorced parents blame themselves. It takes time and maybe even professional help as mentioned above to help children understand and move on.
Agree on discipline and how the two of you are going to do it. I know Amanda and I both heard at times "You're too hard on mine and too easy on yours." Develop the same set of rules for all children and enforce them fairly and consistently. The natural parent is in the best position to discipline their own children because they know their children best. However, both of you need to be able to deal with discipline since at times they (children) may try to use this to their advantage. Build a strong relationship with God and be sure to instill Bible study and prayer into your family daily. Practice agape love and forgiveness (John 13:34-35). Let love—not merely feelings—direct your behavior. An intense feeling of love for step-children may never happen and that's okay. Keeping a child's best interests at heart and acting in loving ways is marvelous parenting. Practice forgiveness. There will be occasions when you will have to learn to forgive your stepchildren, your ex’s, and others.
Becoming a family takes time. Our society has raised us to believe that we shouldn't have to wait for anything. If you want it, and can't afford it, charge it. People also think if it is not working just get rid of it or move on. It takes hard work to make a marriage work, and even tougher work to blend families. Always remember to put your trust in God and he will make anything that you think is impossible…possible.
Just a note to let you know our wedding is coming up soon and we will post within the next few weeks!