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A Blended Family creates a lot of painful dilemmas, but these are normal and not dysfunctional.

In any family there are insiders and outsiders and those roles can change over time. Sometimes the parents are extremely close and the children feel like outsiders. Sometimes one parent and a child are close and the other parent seems like an outsider.

In biological families, the team at the center of the family is the adult couple. In Blended Families, the time for the couple to develop a strong bond or team is more difficult as they start out with children on the scene from the beginning.

So the task is how to develop that strong adult bond in the midst of the chaos of blending families, so that the kids see that example of a strong marital bond, and the adults get to feel important to each other in the hopes of making this relationship work.

In our Blended Family what has worked for us is to develop couple traditions. We have had many and have changed added a few over the years, but the one that has been with us the longest is our tradition of celebrating our anniversary monthly, and we have done this for almost 27 years. At first, we always celebrated with dinner out at a special place; perhaps one we not under ordinary circumstances afford, but this day was special and so we went ahead and did so on out monthly anniversary. Then, as time went on and things got busier with our professions and 4 teenagers, we may have had to do breakfast or lunch, but we never failed to celebrate US through our monthly anniversary dates.

I challenge you to think of a tradition that befits the two of you, and that neither children not relatives, nor anyone will interfere with as you build your relationship into a couple team.

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