COMMUNICATION IN THE BLENDED FAMILY

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Communicating within the blended family can be difficult. If you are a bio parent, you may already have emotional obstacles to effective communication with your ex. And if you are the step parent, sometimes you aren’t sure how much you should say or how involved to get. Whatever your position within a blended family situation, don’t let fear and anger discourage you from speaking up about how to best raise the children. Give each other space and time to digest what the other is saying or suggesting. Making drastic changes with the visitation time i.e. increased visits or a lack of visits is NOT in the best interest of the children. Discuss it. If one parent notices a child behaving one way but the other parent does not witness this, it’s OK. Listen to the claim, check it out, it may be true. Children do act different when they are in different settings. Where at mom’s house the child may have to follow stricter rules while at dad’s house, the child may have more leniency. Accept the fact that there is a difference. Ofcourse, if the child’s safety or well-being is at risk, a strong stance on creating a more stable and safer environment is priority. When changes do occur, decide who will tell the child, it could be one or both parents. On the other hand, if a stepparent is included or excluded from decisions, that is fine as long as it is explained to that person and they are a part of the process. Don’t dictate to a step parent that they are expected to care for your child while you are at work/school/other all weekend and then in the same breath get upset with them for disciplining your child. Do not place other adults in a compromising role. If they are responsible for the primary care for your child, allow them to carry out that role (with guidelines you’ve already discussed together.) And a note to step parents: leave the major discipline to the bio parent. Thus, avoiding conflict with your spouse or the child’s other bio parent. Basic guidance and rules to be followed are fine for step parents to uphold when bio parents are not around. The point is that ALL of the adults involved need to communicate, communicate, communicate with the children’s best interest in mind.

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