So how did we blend our two families together? Was it tough or seamless? Do the kids get along? Do they like you? Do you like them? These are some of the questions I hear a lot about our family. I will tell you this, I have made a lot of mistakes in the process, a lot. I try really really hard to learn from them and do better next time. This post is going to go into some of the things i’ve learned so far from the many mistakes I have made.
This smiling kid is me, young and having no idea how much my life was going to be changing really soon. Starting around the age of five my family of four children started a journey into foster care. My family took children in and we’d take care of them until they were able to go back home or a forever adoptive family was found for them. We ended up adopting a few as well along the way. I do believe this prepared me for loving children as my own who are not biologically so. I think back on it and my past siblings a lot and it has helped me be a more empathetic and loving mom to my children now. I took this role extremely seriously from the very beginning and I try really hard to anticipate their needs and meet them when I am able.
Here is a list of things to remember when blending families:
- All the children’s needs are different.
Now this can be daunting I know. One child’s ever changing needs can be time consuming however if you have decided to take on this role in their life and you want to do it in the best way this is important. For example, maybe the older ones need advice on friendships and different things encountered as an older child while a younger one needs to know you are willing to help them reach a high cabinet. The older one is needing you not to judge them and be an ear for them while the younger needs to know that you will be available and patient. Again, these are ever changing but in order for me to do my best I just pay attention, listen, take cues, whatever I can to meet these needs. I am in know way licensed for child psychology I am just going off of positive feedback and what seems to work for us.
2. Important moments are planned when we are all together.
I have found to avoid jealousy and other negative feelings the more that are included the better. We do our best to make sure all are with us for the birthday parties or fun events. This can take a lot of shuffling but it is so worth it. The kids bond and they see us as parents excited and happy!
3. Spending time with them seperately.
Equally as important is that, like in any other family with more than one child we find the time to spend solo time with our kiddos. Having six sometimes that means I get time with just the girls or boys or just his bio or my bio but we find the times and do what we can. His three need assurance from me that they are a priority and I will be available and present for them and mine need to be reminded that they still are. Some more than others. My eight year old tends to need more of that special time and I try to do what I can to tell him how much I love him. Even if it’s a little time alone in the morning or in bed while tucking them in it all counts.
4. Give the kids time to find their place and allow them to be uncomfortable.
A great example of this was when we first moved in my eight year old was not used to having sisters around at all. He seemed to be overwhelmed by them and how social they were. I found it kind of humorous but also thought it was a great learning experience for him. I told myself it will help him be a better husband someday to have a better understanding of girls and I truly hope that it will. I learned so much as a child from having different foster siblings and understand that concept well. I try to allow them to be uncomfortable instead of swooping in and learn their place in each of these relationships. They each have blossomed so much in the last year and have these cute friendships with each other.
As I said before I have zero background in any kind of psychology or counseling with children. I am just a caring parent who tries to pay attention and these are the things I have found work for US. It is worth the time, patience and understanding because we are influencing these future adults and we want them to succeed and feel secure. I will continue to make mistakes and I hope I am conscious enough to learn from those too.
What works for you? What doesn’t work? I would love to hear!!