A:”Blended” families are formed by children of a previous marriage of one spouse or both. Such dynamics can be challenging and there will always be issues that will need working through, requiring patience and a large dose of humour and grace.
While you manage all the new things about your re-shaped family—new routines, new ways of operating time- tables, shared bathrooms and crowded meal times—remember to:
1. Treasure expressions of love and affection. Research into families has demonstrated that long-term, healthy families are those nurtured and ener- gised by expressions of love and affec- tion. Family members let each other know, as often as possible, just how highly they are valued and cherished.
2. Treasure the diamonds amidst the “dirt.” In the mining industry, diamonds are rarely found on the surface—they are mined from deep down under tons of rock and dirt. Families often spend much of their time focusing on the family “dirt” rather than noticing the diamonds. Find as many chances as you can to affirm each other and comment on the good things you see happening around the house rather than commenting on all the errors.
3. Treasure the opportunities for surprise parenting. Training children isn’t always structured. There are many surprise moments we can grab to teach them our values and explain our beliefs. School may be from 9 to 3, but moments for education in the home can appear at any hour!
4. Treasure the mistakes—they are stepping-stones to a better life. We all make mistakes and we all appreciate someone saying to us, “It’s OK. Learn from the moment and press on.” If we get squashed every time we make a mistake we may well be tempted to give up trying!
5. Treasure differences. We all approach life differently and while we may at times be tempted to see those differences in terms of right and wrong, we will do better to see them simply as different. Remember, we may not agree with someone, but we can try to understand; we may not approve of someone’s behaviour, but we can show acceptance and love.