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Columns : Relationships Matter - Cedric Beckles Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

The Blended Family
By Pastor Cedric Beckles
Jan 21, 2010 - 12:38:50 PM

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The blended family will become, if not already, the standard model of the family in the western world. What is a blended family? The author describes the blended family as one where the children associated with the marriage are related biologically to only one parent. These children can be adults or minors.

The main contributors to the formation of blended families are second marriages, single parents marrying to one other than the child’s biological parent and adoptions. A sad fact about blended families is the success rate is not as good as the non-blended families. The good news however is, by adequately addressing key issues one of two things will happen. The first possible outcome is no marriage because by addressing these pertinent areas the only sensible course of action is to STOP. The second possible outcome is the necessary adjustments will be made thus increasing the possibility of a successful blended family. Almost all of the blended family killers could be arrested if sound advice is followed. Too many enter unprepared. Let’s examine areas that need addressing before marriage, but if already married can be areas of healthy discussions.

The other biological parent. How rational is the other parent? What is the personality type? Is the parent cantankerous or reasonable? Are there major unresolved issues between both parents? The very thought of another person entering the life of the child is, for some bio parents, enough to invoke nasty negative behavior that will place undue pressure on the new blended family unit.

The gender and age of the child/children. Child rearing is a challenge and as we all know, different age brackets (teen) present certain challenges that sometimes call for tough parenting. Bio mothers especially must ask themselves if they are prepared for a man to enter their lives (her and the children) and exercise appropriate tough parenting without allowing it to created a disconnect between her and the new. The non-bio parent must also seriously consider the ages of the children involved and what is going to be required of him/her to complete the parenting processes. Many non-bio parents are not prepared to amend their life styles or plans to continue the growth process for the children. If this is the case marriage should not be considered any further.

Assets. Before your marriage, legally protect any assets you own that you intend to be inherited by your children. I strongly recommend that you insist your expected spouse do the same. Whatever arrangements are made should be honestly and clearly explained to each other. The flip side to this act is, when your spouse die even if you carry out his/her wishes, you expose yourself to intense scrutiny and criticism from his/her children and relatives. Save yourself the headache.

Rules of engagement for discipline of the children. Set the rules! Who will spank, remove privileges, does each bio-parent deal with own child?

When settled rules should be conveyed to the children.

Major expenses. Everyday expenses for the upkeep of the children are usually not an issue. But when major expenses arise (college, braces, medical attention, trips etc) it is not uncommon for the stepparent to be unwilling, expecting the child’s other parent to provide the money. This attitude often takes the spouse by surprise and can become a point of contention throughout the marriage. Bring expectations to the table before hand.

Visitation with or of the other parent. Many parents are reluctant for the child to be in the presence of the stepparent or have the stepparent transport the child. If at all possible, be considerate of the wishes of the other bio-parent. Do not forget to discuss the holiday breaks. Do not put your spouse in an awkward position with the other parent. Always protect each other.

Addressing these and other challenges, you can improve the odds of a blended family surviving and staying healthy.

About the Author: Cedrick Beckles is a pastor, family/marriage counselor, motivational speaker and writer, who equips people  to establish and maintain healthy relationships.  Email bahamaslifeministries@ yahoo.com Tel:242-352-5268, or 352-5252

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