blended family

Guide to a Blended Family

I am the mother and grandmother of a large, blended family. Having a blended family requires tender loving care… and lots of sleepless nights. I must confess, with pride, that I learned by trial and error how to be a step-mother — although I do not like the term — and a step-grandmother to my blended family.

We have adult children, their spouses, and 25 grandchildren. We are a large cast of characters and we all love each other very much. This is my story and the set of guidelines I established to nourish that love and respect.

Keys to Blended Success

My Motto: Tolerance, Attention, Wisdom, Trust, and Participation.

My Rule: To blend a family successfully is all about the children—not about us.

Both sets of our children lost a parent. When children lose a parent, they need space and time to grieve. When a widowed parent remarries, the children again need time and space. This is a very difficult time for children, no matter their ages.

This was a very difficult adjustment for all of us. They each missed their deceased parent and Shelly & I dreamed of acceptance. I do not know the ramifications of divorce, personally, but I am sure it is just as difficult as each parent often pulls the children in different directions.

Have Tolerance

Adult children will resist a blended family and you must be very aware of this. The entire dynamic of their family is changing. This is a very difficult time in their lives.

Their first feeling of stability, in the new family, will come when they see a strong relationship between you and your spouse. You are the head of the family and the bond between the two of you will eventually give them a sense of security.

Through your actions, they will feel your desire to blend the family, whatever it takes. And, it will take a lot. More than you can imagine.

I believe that there is no expiration date to successfully blending a family, meaning that even if it takes years and years, you keep working at it. No parent is perfect, we make mistakes, we fall down and yet, we love without condition, without restriction, and without expiration. I love each and every member of my blended family and no amount of time nor distance can change that.

Attention

You cannot develop a relationship with your children and grandchildren (and they are all yours) without giving your blended family personal attention. I pay attention. I email, text, call, listen to problems, and laugh at stories.

Attention shows caring and this builds the bonds of love and trust.

Do not expect them to call you as often as you call them. Your joy should come from knowing that they are glad to hear from you. Our family is all over the country. Distance is very very challenging, but it does not lessen my commitment and care for each and every member of our blended family.

Wisdom

As women, we have been blessed with tools of wisdom. Use them.

wise owl

Each child has his or her distinct personality. You must be sensitive to the changes of each child and use your tools of wisdom.

Trust

When your Grands share secrets, do not break your pledge to keep them. I do this all the time. Help with a problem between the blended siblings or grandchildren and arrive at a conclusion that is good for all. This will create the best trust, showing no favorites.

Susan “Honey” Good is the founder of HoneyGood.com where this blog originally appeared. The site is a collection of lessons learned, life advice and insights from not only her, but from a fantastic group of contributing writers, each adding their own spice to the recipe. Honey Good.com representing “a family tree of women” — wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law, sisters, aunts, cousins and girlfriends — coming together to talk about what makes them tick as well as what they have in common. Honey Good discusses life experiences with wisdom, humor and intellect, enabling all to attain a “Honey Good Style of Life.”

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