Parenting: Blending Familes - 9 Universal Laws

The law of -ing.

The law of -ing refers to a misnomer in the way we talk about this special kind of family. By calling them "blended families," we imply that blending two families is a one-time event, and all the work is done. Nothing could be further from the truth. "Blending families" is a much more accurate term because it implies that putting two families together is a lifelong process with lots of work to do.

The law of Brady.

Let's get this one out of the way. "The Brady Bunch" was a TV show, complete with scripts so everyone knew what was coming in advance, with as many takes as necessary to get it right. Blending a family is real-world stuff. And it's all live!

The law of pace.

Allow your new family to develop and set its own pace. Don't try to force relationships or closeness.

The law of instant love.

Related to the law of pace, the law of instant love states that you cannot realistically expect instant love to occur between siblings and children and adults. Love and relationships take time.

The law of magnification.

In many of the blending families that I have worked with, at first it feels like everyone is walking on eggshells. Walking on eggshells makes it feel like every little issue is a huge deal, on which rides the success or failure of the family.

Watching out for this law can help you keep things in perspective.

The law of loyalty.

I've yet to work with a family where this wasn't eventually a powerful issue. Just consider the situation above. We've got four kids, all in various stages of recovering from the trauma of divorce or perhaps death, coming together into a new family and developing new relationships and loyalties. Yet they still have loyalties to their previous families. This is hard enough for adults to figure out, much less children.

It's like what a 10-year-old boy in a family I once worked with said: "How can I love Daddy and Jim (stepfather) at the same time?"

The law of permission.

Here's one answer to the loyalty dilemma. As much as possible, even though it can be incredibly difficult, it's crucial that kids have permission from as many of the adults as possible to form new and loving ties with members of the new family.

The law of step, part 1.

A parent once told me he didn't like the word step because it implied less of a connection between the family members. As this father put it, "While I am not the biological father of two of our children, I am a father and dad to them. And they may be the biological children of my wife, but they are also my children."

The law of step, part 2.

As a mother of a blending family once told me, "Yeah, we're a stepfamily - we're going to be taking lots of steps together."

Visit ParentingYourTeenager.com for tips and tools for thriving during the teen years. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 5 day e-program on The Top 5 Things to Never Say to Your Teenager, from parenting coach and expert Jeff Herring .

In The News:

Parenting in difficult times  The Jewish Standard
Real time parenting  Bangalore Mirror
UNC picks parenting advocate to contest PM's seat  Loop News Trinidad and Tobago

Top Five Ways To Stay In Touch With Your Child

Once your little boy/girl goes off to school, you may... Read More

Children Cooperate When Appreciated

Do you want your child to cooperate with you more?Children... Read More

The Twenty-First Century Parent

John was a 43 year-old sales manager at a large... Read More

Bullies

Bullies are an ugly but very real part of childhood.... Read More

What You Can Learn About Life From Your Children

You can learn a lot from children.The best part of... Read More

Unilateral Disarmament - The First Step to Improving Communications with Your Teenagers

Many times, we are so conditioned in how we speak... Read More

Playful Parenting - More than Just Fun and Games

Early childhood educators have called play "children's work". Many parents... Read More

A New Dad To Be? Deer in the headlights?

Ok. So you're a dad to be. If you're like... Read More

How To Teach Your Children Love

I was in the life insurance sales industry for over... Read More

Its OK to Say No

In the last 20 years we've all been introduced to... Read More

Remember The Generation Gap?

The techniques of managing relationships between parents and their children... Read More

Financially Stable Kids ? Prepared for College

We are all familiar with the stories that most students... Read More

To Clean or Not To Clean

Before my daughter was born my house was... Read More

Useful Jogger Stroller Accessories

There are many useful jogger stroller accessories out on the... Read More

Difference

There are times when my ideas of raising a child... Read More

Diana, Princess of Whales

Younger generations unfortunately will not understand how larger than life... Read More

Real Monsters Under Your Bed

There may really be a real monster under your kidâ??s... Read More

Responsible Fatherhood - A Unique And Irreplaceable Role!

Something happened the other day that made me feel uneasy.... Read More

Picky Eaters - The Dawn of Understanding

"In general my children refuse to eat anything that hasn't... Read More

Clean Your House Green for your Children?s Sake

My thirteen-year-old daughter recently called me up to say she... Read More

Protect your Kids Early with Safety Glasses

What exactly makes safety glasses different from regular glasses? There... Read More

Getting Through to Your Teenager

Have you ever watched your teenager make a mistake (that... Read More

How To Be Your Childs Sex Educator

The debate in many towns continues throughout this country about... Read More

The Top 10 Tips for Communicating with Children

Most people have more training before they receive their driver's... Read More

A Dialogue with an ADHD Non-Believer

Dear Sir, It was with some interest that I read... Read More