I am a step-mom myself and I have worked extensively with blended families. I understand how difficult it can be to find harmony in your marriage and your new family. I have the training and the life experience to help you reduce the tension and make space for love and trust to bloom.
I have been part of a blended family my whole life—I grew up with a step-father and half-sister. And now, I am re-married, the mother to one biological child and two step-children.
This last fact means that I have also been through divorce. Two of them, actually. (For more info on navigating divorce, see the Divorce page of this website.) I know first-hand how important it is to truly heal from the dissolution of the previous marriage so that you aren’t simply repeating old patterns.
After my divorce, I knew that my chances of having a relationship with a man with kids of his own were high. I had heard that blending families takes work. I wasn’t afraid of work. What I didn’t expect was that work was only one small piece of the puzzle. Love helps tremendously, but it doesn’t necessarily conquer all when it comes to the step-parent/step-child relationship.
I’m not going to sugarcoat: Being a member of a blended family can be tough. Especially for the kids, forming a relationship with the new spouse can feel like a betrayal of the birth parent. It can put a tremendous strain on your relationship with your spouse and with the children.
Before I was a step-mother, I thought my goal was to love my step-children like my own. The problem is loving someone you don’t know isn’t easy, especially when rejection or even betrayal is part of the picture.
I realize now how many moving parts there are—coordinating schedules, feeling you’re competing with your spouse’s ex for the kids’ affection, dealing with someone else’s values and beliefs both directly and indirectly. The kids may be secretly—or not so secretly—hoping their parents will get back together.
The relationships in blended families take time, love and lots of work—work from the step-parent, both biological parents, and the kids. If anyone doesn’t want to play their part it will delay the healthy merging of families and even bring damage to the children. You have to understand what each other’s temperaments are and what their hopes and expectations are. And issues need to be continually addressed as they arise, not just swept under the rug.
Merging of blended families also takes skill, understanding, an open heart and mind and a willingness to ask for help. Having the support of a mental health professional can make everyone’s transition easier and the bonds between you stronger.
I have the training and the life experience to help you reduce the tension and make space for love and trust to bloom.
If you’d like to get more personalized support, send me an email or click here to set up a complementary strategy session to see if Relationship Coaching is right for you.