The Magic of Blending

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

magicbullet225The Magic Bullet® is a clever blender/food processor invention that is handy for mixing food and liquids. I wish something that easy could be created for blending families, but there’s no magic to it. Although I don’t live in a blended family the way society defines it, I’ve talked to many people who do, and in some ways I believe all families are blended in one way or another.

A “blended” family consists of two people who join in marriage and come to the union with children from a previous relationship to form a new family. Experts say the keys to managing a blended family are communication, flexibility, and respect. It’s not so different for a traditional family who easily mix these priorities up.

There is no such thing as an instant family. Forming bonds of love and trust take time whether the child is a direct descendant or comes through adoption or marriage. The problem is too many remarried couples want the connection between all their loved ones to be instantaneous. It’s not surprising because everything else in life is immediate. Digital pictures are available within seconds. The Internet is a click away. The television comes to life as soon as you turn it on. But I believe the most worthy relationships take time to develop and grow.

Sixty-five percent of remarriages involve a child which means there’s more merging going on in families than on the highway. It’s no wonder there’s confusion, with people turning in all different directions. I think part of the problem is that remarried couples want so badly for all their children to get along; they forget that their compatibility as a couple doesn’t automatically translate into their children’s compatibility.

Couples struggling with blended families need to practice patience. Each spouse should get to know each individual child of the other spouse. Spend time together other than just holidays. Create new traditions. Remember that you are not a replacement mother or father, but an additive. Something that can flavor the mix without spoiling it or trying to change the taste. Don’t be threatened by the relationship the children have with their biological parents. Reassure your own children of your love when they see you form bonds with their step-siblings. It’s natural for jealousy to occur but it can be handled appropriately with just awareness.

Parents who are married, struggle with their different parental styles; now imagine they divorce, and then more people, with their own style are added to the pot. It’s easy to see how things can get stirred up.

I think part of why blending families gets hard is because people let their ego drive the process instead of putting it in the trunk where it belongs. The kids just ride along and get no input on any decisions that are made, yet they are affected by all of them. The decision to divorce. To remarry. To create a new family tree. I’m not chastising those that made these decisions, but simply asking you to remember all that these kids have to process. Try not to expect too much too soon in terms of happily ever after.

If you lead with humility and empathy and allow the children to follow in their time, incorporating many of the suggestions above, your new family will blend more smoothly and hopefully you will begin to see fewer areas of separation.

Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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