Living in a Blended Family
About six years ago, I walked down the aisle of a small church, optimistic of marrying the man of my dreams and joining my children and his in total bliss. As we quickly found out, this wouldn't be the case. We discovered we were not alone.
Countless others have experienced the same things we have, but, this is how we choose to deal with it.
I made the choice to stay at home to raise the children, while my husband works. I was already a mother but clueless about being a stepmother. I had heard all the horror stories about stepparenting, so I was cautious about taking this all on at once.
In the beginning, life was anything but blissful. This led me to be apprehensive about
disciplining my stepsons. I very soon discovered that my husband was approaching my children the same way. This ultimately resulted in misunderstandings and taking sides.
About the third year, we realized that by establishing trust, we could attempt a reconciliation of wills and true communication possibly could be established.
To lay the groundwork, we began to listen to the individual needs of each of the children privately. Rather than correcting, we suggested a course of action they might take for the problem. Sometimes, we found that all they wanted was for someone to listen. Occasionally, they would attempt to use the time for griping about each other,but we limited this time to "serious matters." This has been a effective tool andwe believe it has helped in the prevention of some temptations. Of course, nothing is100% effective, but if it works, I say stick with it!
Our four children are between the ages of 15 and 16, and 2 have a disability, Attention defecit disorder with hyperactivity and learning disabilities, ( ADHD/LD) for short.While the other son suffers from a not so common one, Asperger's Syndrome ( AS). Little is known, except that it affects the center of the brain that controls are social behavior but not the intelligence, as a matter of fact, it is enhanced. At least where my son, and other children I have known, are concerned.so we are very familiar with their various mood swings. We found, no matter how much you reador advice you get, all it takes is trial and error, common sense mixed with patience, and a sense of humor and love. Children only respond to anger with more anger,so it is more important to be their
friend than a foe.
Over the past two years, we have developed family meetings. These meetings consist of opportunities to share our feelings and concerns, and to openly discuss issues and resolve problems in our daily lives. We end up finding out that a lot of what has been bothering us comes from outside sources and it becomes a burden to carry alone. Having this open forum gives us a chance to help each other to relate. This really helps with children of the same
age dealing with the same pressures. We're definitely not the Brady Bunch
Sometimes, someone will lose interest or not want to participate. So we space them sporadically so no one has a chance to dropout.
As you can see this is not always effective, but for the most part, it helps.With every good, there also have been those times we wanted to avoid, but life gives way to happenstance and they must be dealt with head on. These moments are usually things that deal with the heart.
Over the past year, some of our children have started to become attracted to the opposite sex, which raises many new issues. As the children begin the journey from adolescence to teenhood many subjects have come up for discussion.
My husband and I believe that our children should be comfortable with talking to us about issues. We also believe that it is very important that they understand that we feel very strongly about certain things, and want them to consider the consequences of their actions if they choose to do so.
We have learned, a lot through the children, and see a lot of ourselves in them. This keeps us grounded.
We have also inherited a newfound respect for our parents and what they must have gone through to raise us and our siblings. We have often wondered, if they had someone to look up to and to use as a role model in their experience in raising us.
And if they are going to have any moral structure you must lay the foundation of compassion,understanding, common sense, your time and love to hold it all together. Most importantly prayer and keeping God in the center.
Your faith makes a difference in the lives of the children you been entrusted to letting them see it demonstrated lays them a foundation for faith in their own lives.
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