Aug 31 2010

Help for Blended Families!

Dr Paul Meier, of the Meier Clinics, has advise for Blended families today.  If you need some help, he has great advise here.  If you grew up in a Blended Family... What advice would you offer to someone who is looking for help?

Listen to Dr. Meier discuss blended families: Segment 1 & Segment 2

Comments (22) -

8/22/2010 8:14:04 PM
Debbie Malone United States
Debbie Malone
My piece of advice is that you must make sure that each parent has the same standards for their kids....you can't have high expectations for one set of kids and lower ones for the other set of kids.  You must treat them equally!!  You have to love all the kids just as you would your own children!!!  And sometimes that's hard...but it will pay off in the long run.  If there was an issue that required disipline....we would discuss it and agree on a punishment...and then the bio parent handed out the punishment and enforced it!  It kept down the "I hate my stepparent" thing!!!
8/23/2010 1:15:16 AM
Debbi United States
Debbi
No matter how difficult it is, it is very important that both the step- parent and the biological parent back the other parent up. Children quickly pick up on dissention and will use it for their benefit. If you do disagree, do it away from the kids. I know from experience this isn't always easy but it is better than the problems the alternative brings. And God Bless everyone living in blended families. I don't see how people do it without God in their corner. We never would have made it, but we did!!!!!!
8/23/2010 1:15:38 AM
Helen Cain United States
Helen Cain
I believe one of the most important things to teach children in a blended family is that all the children in the family are brothers and sisters, NOT step-brothers, half-sisters, etc...labeling them as such tends to divide the family, and hurt feelings, well into their adult lives, and on many different levels.
8/23/2010 6:29:48 AM
Jamie Wagne United States
Jamie Wagne
Dr. Meier could not have hit the nail on the head for what I feel would have been the most important advice during my 8 years as a child in a blended family.  One of my parents used me as the adult and told me every negative thing about the ex-spouse. Later in life, when I realized what had happened, I actually hated that parent that was so negative until God worked in my life to realize that that parent had needed me to talk to as they were all alone in that part and just did the best they could at the time.  Unfortunately, kids in a blended family have to be more mature than other kids most of the time.  It is difficult at best no matter how you look at it.
8/23/2010 11:31:41 AM
WENDY HANSEN United States
WENDY HANSEN
In any blended family one of the greatest gifts we can give each other is patients. but as parents consistency is so important and can also be one of the most difficult things to do. No matter what or who you might be dealing with staying true to what you believe will help the children in the family have a solid foundation to rely and grow on.
This is especially important if the children have to go between families with different ideals and belief systems.
Providing an example of what is expected is the best way to teach our loved ones. We try to do as we say and walk the walk in the same way we are asking our children to do.
After 10 years of being as consistent as we could, we have started to see the results in our daughters and the choices they are making today.
It was not easy but well worth the work. Praise God for His faithfulness!  
8/23/2010 4:40:26 PM
Michael Spurgeon United States
Michael Spurgeon
I am a sep son and also a step father. The one ting that my wife and I did after a family meeting, which was a discussion on something that happened. We alway asked the kids (a daughter and a son) how we were doing as parents to grade us. We explained we ae not perfect and also need to improve what we are doing. This was a way to open conversation, it did not alway open the conversation, but we gave them a chance.
8/23/2010 4:40:48 PM
Darla United States
Darla
My husband and I have been married for 20 years and when we got married we put together a blended family. He had 3 from his first marriage and I had one. In two years we had a daughter together.  It took a lot of communication in our marriage with our children to make it work.  Lots of prayer.   We tried hard not to let the kids play us against each other.  When problems came up we listened to their feelings and tried hard to solve the problem together.  Believe me we made lots of mistakes but I think we learned to say we were sorry and to forgive us.
8/23/2010 9:43:58 PM
Lanie United States
Lanie
Never thought that I would belong to a blended family. But I loved my step-children and just tried to be there but not BE their mom. They have a mom and her rules were what they needed to adhere to. They tried to play their dad and I against her but I stood up for her. At times that was tough and they really hated when they couldn't get what they believed they needed. But it's been 18 yrs now and they have grown into great, responsible adults. My kids continued to just go w/the flow b/c that is their personalities, but they helped too in trying to make the step-children feel at home. It wasn't always easy, but it certainly had it's great rewards. Never, ever yell or scream b/c that is always wrong. Just a ton of patience and a lot of love and always and forever praise God in front of them. Let them know that God is really in charge of the whole thing.........thanks for being a great station. And hey......I'm still learning.....lanie
8/24/2010 2:44:53 AM
Carla United States
Carla
I have no advice because I have never been able to get this to work no matter how hard I have tried.  What I want people to know is if you have grandchildren also it really affects them when they are treated different.  People need to wake up and realize that the world does not revolve just around them. There are others in their life affected by their selfishness.
8/24/2010 7:47:05 AM
Dana United States
Dana
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and a wonderful ex-husband whom I have 3 daughters with. My husband and I do not have any children, he didn't have any when we married. Since my divorce, my ex-husband had a son with another women. I have been divorced for about 8 years. We have all of our children's celebrations together, my ex-husband will come to our house for supper, and we sit by each other at activites. We have made the choice (without question, the VERY DIFFICULT one at times) to look at each other as the parents of our children, not ex'es. We tell our children to focus on the positive so that that is what we have chosen to do. We look at each other as PARENTS OF OUR DAUGHTERS, NOT EX-SPOUSES. We look at a sweet little boy as THE HALF BROTHER OF THE GIRLS, NOT A CHILD BY MY EX-HUSBAND. My children have thanked me for this more than once. I thank God for our sitiuation daily.
8/24/2010 12:51:50 PM
Connie United States
Connie
As a step mother, I would have to give the advice of never say anything you would regret.  It is so easy to let all of your emotions build up due to the stress of being apart of a blended family, and a few too many times I have had horrible outbursts.  Other advice I would give would be to not take everything so seriously.  Pick and choose your battles.  Also, time will be your best friend.  By living and learning from your mistakes, things get easier.  But trust me, if your don't pick and choose your battles, your in for a rough ride!  Every family is different.  In the beginning, try to make up your own family traditions for your new family.  This will be fun!  Do not let your feelings for the ex spouse dictate how you treat your step child.  Try to love your step child with all your heart.  Imagine them as your own. I could go on and on but I've got to get dinner going!  Good Luck!  Also don't forget to Pray! Pray! Pray!
8/24/2010 10:58:27 PM
Lisette - as a child United States
Lisette - as a child
Let me start by saying that my grandmother raised me a couple thousand miles away from my family.  Later when we moved closer to them I mostly felt like I wasn't part of the family.  I felt like I was excluded for the biggest majority of that time.  Now as an adult I have a different point of view.  A couple of my siblings have actually come to me and explained to me that all that behavior on their part was a result of their jealousy, for lack of a better word.  They couldn't understand why I had been lucky enough to be raised by my grandmother and they weren't.  I never had an answer for them until I was almost 30.  The fact was that my parents weren't ready for kids and didn't want to raise me so my grandmother got me.  I guess I could have bad feelings and animosity towards my parents but I feel very, very fortunate to have been raised by my grandmother.  I feel now like it was a real honor and I can even understand how they could have been feeling the way they did for many years.  After long hours of talking it over with each other, my siblings and I have repaired those relationships.  As for my father and mother, I feel like they actually gave me a gift in giving me my grandmother and all I can say is THANKS!!
8/25/2010 4:05:33 AM
Jennifer Castaneda United States
Jennifer Castaneda
I love hearing all of this advise.  I am in the middle of a blended family.  I have a daughter from a previous marriage and my husband has 2 daughters from a previous marriage.  They all live with us.  My husband and I have twins that are 20 months old.  The older children for 2 years now still cannot accept me as their stepmom.  They just moved in with their mother because they hate me.  This is causing great issues with my husband and I.  The only thing I know is the be open and honest with one another regarding the children and the exs and to always talk to one another regarding issues with each other, the kids, and the exs.  Placing God #1 in the marriage and being that example and being unified is a wonderful thing the children need to see.
8/25/2010 9:08:11 AM
Shawna Kelley United States
Shawna Kelley
Ok.. let me throw a wrinkle into this topic... I will say what allot of step parents feel but will not admit... When the kid is not from your own litter it is not the same EVER.  You tollerence is less and you lose your ability to cope with the messes that come with them.  I know this sounds harsh but I have had a step daughter since she was 8 years old... from the time I met this child I tried my best to be a good step parent to her but to ultimatly be stabbed int eh back by her time and time again... I have 2 boys that I brought into the marriage and my step daughter at age 9 told her mother that my son who was 10 at the time molested her...so her mother called CPS and long story short it ended up with my step daughter telling us she was only kidding but it caused my sons father who was serving over in Mnt. Fugi Japan to have to come home and deal with it.  This kid has been a toxic cloud over every roof she has been under and her own biological mother called 2 years ago and asked us to come get her cause she was just uncontrollable..her mother has not spoken to her in 2 years and will not allow her to see her new sisters... she was kicked out of our house about 6 months ago when I gave my husband an ultimatum that it was her or me.  She is 17 and on her own now... I can truly say I dont give her a second thought cause of the 9 years of misery she caused me and my family.  Some kids just have toxic personalities and they are not worth the time, health problems and sleep less nights it takes from your life.  Now if someday she grows up maybe I will let her back into my life but until them she is banished from my house hold.
Shawna
8/25/2010 2:12:28 PM
nicky United States
nicky
I have been truely blessed that my husband and his parents have taken my daughter into their hearts as their own and she knows them as her family. I am always telling my girls that they should treat everyone as if they were god and to always treat others as they want to be treated.
8/26/2010 12:26:14 AM
Robyn United States
Robyn
I grew up in a blended family - but never knew it. It was never "his" kids and "her" kids with my parents, it was always OUR kids. There was never anyone calling anyone step - mother, father, sister, brother. Or half - brother/sister. We were just brothers and sisters and it was mom and dad to all of us. Not until after my mom died 3 years ago did I ever hear any of my sisters or brother call her their "step" mom. And only 1 sister does but that was after she renewed a relationship with her birth mom (she didnt' have one growing up as she abandoned her and my other sis and bro). In fact, my brother didn't know my mom wasn't his biological mother until he was in his teens. Not because it was kept secret but rather because of how my mom did not show favoritism towards her birth children over her "step" children.
8/26/2010 10:43:20 AM
Shawna Kelley United States
Shawna Kelley
@ Robyn... I think it is great that your experience was as such... My step daughter started calling me mom from the second day I met her..it was just fine with me... in fact I was more of a mother to her than her own mom.  But sometimes the fairy tale turns sour and one of the kids has really bad issues that no amount of counseling could ever touch... this was the case for our family.  I have 4 other kids that I must protect and not have her influence around..so in some cases to remove the child is best for the rest of the family that still has a chance.  I know this is the unpopular comment but it is what it is...
8/26/2010 3:56:44 PM
Dorothy United States
Dorothy
I grew up in a blended family but didn't really understand it until I was about 10. We all had the same mother but different fathers. No one ever called each other step or half until I was 10 and got really mad at my sister and told her she wasn't part of this family because she was a "step". Well I got what I deserved. A slap across the face from her. I moved on but she didn't and she remined me of it a couple of years ago. She doesn't talk to me now and I pray that one day we can forgive each other. Now I live in a blended family where I married a man with 2 daughters. They were 5 and 7 when we met and are 21 and 23 now and have lived with us for 6 1/2 years. The 23 year old moved out 1 1/2 yrs ago to live on her own. Now because of loss of job she has temporarily moved back in and has upset the apple cart. I love her immensley but I don't "like" her right now. She is moody, depressed and has major attitude. I am trying so hard to help here but every time we talk it becomes an argument. I just wish she would go back to her apartment and become a visitor again. She got mad at me today and told me that I haven't loved her since she was little. That is just about as bad as saying You can't tell me what to do you are not my mother. Her mother is a long story and not enough space to go into but I do love this child and need alot of prayer to come to terms with everything.
8/27/2010 3:28:52 AM
kia United States
kia
my spouse and i were on completely different pages when we first got married... we've been together for almost 6 years now.. and i have to say, that I give all the credit to God.. no matter how hard things have been.. no matter how hard our ex's have tried to tear our family apart, God continues to protect us.. and we're not perfect... but we've learn to pass the grace.. my advice, Make it clear to your children that no matter what people say or do, you vow to be there for your spouse no matter what.. and honor that....
8/27/2010 8:30:49 AM
Anne United States
Anne
Just remember that Jesus, too, was from a blended family of sorts -- he was raised by a man who was not his biological father.  He's been there, done that.  Trust in that.
8/27/2010 1:44:24 PM
Josh Henninger United States
Josh Henninger
As a kid my Dad was re-married when i was in third grade. At the time I was the only child home so it was normally just me and my Dad.  After getting married to my Mom (step mother), I went into shock as all of a sudden I had 4 brothers and sisters now that I had to share my Dad and house with.  

Times were tough for both my Step-mom and Dad, but now that most of us are older we have worked out the problems blended families come across.  My advice for the parents is to have the discipline come from both parents as a joint effort.  Otherwise one of the parents may be looked down upon if they aren't the biological parent.

Second I would have the rewards be spread from both parents as well as individuals.  This will help both sides of the family feel more like a single family.

As a kid in a blended family, try to make an effort to spend time with both your new parent and your parent.  Realize they are under alot of stress as well and need support.  They may not have been their for your entire life, but they  can be there for you now if you let them.

It takes time, but it will work out!
8/28/2010 3:59:09 PM
Lori Rippy United States
Lori Rippy
Hi Guys!

I hope what I share will help someone else. My husband and I will be married for 11 years this Oct. My third marriage, his first. I brought 3 kides into this relationship, he brought 0. Things were fine while we dated. But after we were engaged & married my second child really started having fits. You are not my Dad, I don't have to listen to you! Words that all blended families hear. My husband wanted me to do something about it and of course my daughter wanted me to do something about him. I didn't know what to do. I talked to both of them trying to get them to see each others view point. Finally, did what I should of done in the first place, I prayed about it.
One day when things were really bad between them, I was praying for help, big SOS to God. It was like a light bulb or a lightening bolt. I knew what to try. My daughter is a born again Christian and always ready to talk about God or Jesus. So I asked her to come talk to me about Jesus birth. She was more then ready to do that. I asked her who was Jesus Mommy? Mary she replied. Ok I said who is Jesus Daddy? Why God Mommy. Are you sure I replied? Yes mommy said my daughter. So I asked Who is Joesph??? She replied that he was Jesus earthly father. I had her repeat this several times so it would sink in what she was saying. Finally I said since Joesph was the eearthly father and not the real father wouldn't that make him Jesus stepfather?? I wonder if Jesus ever disrespected his earthly or stepfather by saying you can't tell me what to do your not my real Dad! My daughter made the connection and boy was she mad. She went to her room and wouldn't talk to anyone. But the point struck home. I am not saying life between them became perfect after that but it started the road for them to get along again.
After I did that I did praise God, but I also said that if He felt I was twisting the bible in any way, I was sorry and asked for forgivness. I am 47 now and still not heard any Pastor talk of Joesph as a stepfather. Did I do wrong? I am still not quite sure sometimes. I do know that it did help and made my husband and daughter relationship much better.
She now call him Dad and says that other guy is just a donor.
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