📌 This post is brought to you by Rebekka, author of the blog Pinecanvas. Rebekka is a blogger driven by dreams. She likes to inspire and motivate others to chase their dreams by sharing her journey in her blog.
In this Post:
- Blended Families: A New Family Reality
- Kids Pick Up Tension
- Guest in a Stranger’s House
- My Home Invaded by a Stranger
- Final Thoughts
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Blended Families: A New Family Reality
The blended family is a rather new form of family.
For a bystander, it might look like a really confusing way to live. One could say that people are just making their lives difficult by choice. But that isn’t always the case. No one plans to start a blended family.
Whenever two people fall in love and start a family, they at least believe it’s forever. Life changes though. Sometimes that means growing apart, and breaking up becomes the best for everyone. This doesn’t mean that people with kids should be doomed alone for the rest of their life or that falling in love again is hardly a choice.
Once it was almost unthinkable for families to break up and start a new family. And when it did happen, it often meant that all ties were cut. The more break-up hurt parents, the less they wanted to interact with each other afterwards. The kid would stay with one parent and the other one would leave.
Times have changed a lot. We have come to understand that we shouldn’t be living together as just a facade. That hurts kids the most.
Kids Pick Up Tension
When a relationship changes, kids pick up on that. They can feel the tension between parents, even if they can’t put a name on it. They feel it.
There isn’t a thing about “fighting in secret” with kids involved. Kids know. The unsettling feeling they can’t put a name on will make them act out, which ultimately will make things worse. But it’s not the kid’s fault, they don’t know better.
So talk with them, explain to them what is going on, but don’t blame anyone. Don’t make them pick a side. If you are having rough times, but trying to work it out, tell them that.
Remind them that whatever is going on between you, you both still love them and it’s not their fault. Even if you fight about kids or parenting styles. It’s not the kids’ fault that you two disagree. Never.
Guest in a Stranger’s House
My mom and biological father split when I was little, way before I remember. So for me, he was never there. I had my mom and honestly don’t remember missing him ever.
When my biological father started a new family, for some reason he suddenly tried to reach out to me. He had a son with a new wife and wanted us to meet. So I ended up visiting a few times.
When I visited them as a kid, I never felt like part of the family there. I felt like I was a guest in a stranger’s house. Alone. And I didn’t have a chance to text or call mom to say that I missed her and I didn’t want to be there.
I would only count the days until I could get back home. I guess they tried, but no one knew how to explain things to pre-schoolers, and what was going on. I was glad when I got home and really happy once my mom didn’t make me go back there again.
If they had started slower with shorter meetings so we all could get to know each other it would have been easier. I would have felt better while visiting.
Kids are programmed to love and respect their parents by nature. Either I am faulty, or this is wrong. I don’t feel guilty about it though. He was the grown up and it was his duty to get to know me and be a father. To make me feel part of his family. To make me feel that he is my father.
He didn’t. He didn’t even bother to learn how to spell my name! As far as I know, he still hasn’t over 30 years later. I have always been proud of my name and its simple yet unique spelling. I do take it as an insult when people misspell it. It’s forgiven for acquaintances and strangers, but not for family and close friends. Sorry, not sorry.
My Home Invaded by a Stranger
My mom was a young and beautiful woman. She found a new partner. But for me as a kid, my home was invaded by a stranger who decided to play father and boss me around.
I acted out. I showed my dissatisfaction in any way I knew and mostly got in trouble for that. At that time, I couldn’t understand why we would need another person there. We were fine! Time passed and I got a baby sister, she was so little and fragile – one of us. Now there were 3 of us and it made sense, but only us three.
A few years later came around the man I started to consider a father figure. Although the beginning wasn’t smooth, he did something different. He didn’t try to be a father from a start. He was just there and tried to get to know me. Of course, it changed over time. I got used to him and even saw the benefits of him being around. But it took time.
After a while, whenever the topic of fatherhood arose, I always thought of him. He was there when I was hurt, needed help, and struggled with my homework. He taught me to protect myself and cared enough to listen and talk with me.
And for me it didn’t matter what some paper said; he was my father.
In next week’s post, we will look deeper into how you can cope and promote bonding in this new family reality. We will look into how to address feelings, what mistakes to avoid, and how to make everyone more comfortable within the family.
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