When you think of Thanksgiving, usually people are going home to family. What is your family dynamic though, right at home? If you have a blended family and you need some help with your love life, we have some thoughts to consider.
First off, what is a blended family? For this topic, it is a mix of kids that come from his/hers, hers/hers, etc. You are with your partner and you have kids 'together' that weren't made 'together'. The family is all-together but your love life has some bumps and challenges because of it.
1. Your kids don't get along
This can wreck havoc on your relationship because there is always stress in the home, fighting, and disharmony. Your love life is about getting away from them and your situation to be alone together, but it should not have to be like that. There should be a compromise. Little kids like toddlers mixed in with pre-teens or teenagers can be tricky...or all teens! There are many scenarios but here are some ideas to get things more harmonious.
• Have 'family dates' where everyone gets together and you go where the kids will have fun bonding
• For older kids, have a pow-wow night where you talk about what compromises everyone could make by 'passing' the pillow and only the one who has the pillow can talk
• Keep boundaries and rules consistent for all kids and at all times - create equal 'playing ground'
2. You aren't getting along with their kids or vice versa
This is probably the worse case scenario in a blended family and creates real stress on your love life, the family life and makes the home an uncomfortable environment.
If there are feelings of betrayal or disloyalty, jealousy or other bitter moments, family counseling is a great option. Paired with family counseling you can use tools your therapist gives you to talk to the children without causing problems, create respect and have a relationship with them that is understanding.
3. Your parenting styles are different
When you are on dates everything is great, but when it comes to discipline or rewards you are both on different planets. This is something you have to establish in the very beginning or the kids will pick up on it and use it against you. If there is a required 'parenting plan' in divorce cases, there should definitely be one in a shared home with blended kids. Work it out on paper, on a chart, by way of routine or however it works for you, but make sure you are both committed to it and it doesn't turn into a one sided plan.
4. You never get alone time
You are so focused on the family, making sure the kids are happy and everyone is getting along, that you never get alone time together. This is a big deal because in order to have quality time, personal conversation and intimate bonding, you need to have some alone time. Whether it is an hour locked in your room, a dinner out, a full date, a lunch meeting or shower time in the morning together, make sure this happens often so you can keep up the strong connection to help you get through the rough times.
5. Opposition from outside family and friends
If you have negative comments, bad advise, and critical put-downs coming in about your blended relationship, the other partner's kids, about your choices or routines, then it's time to quiet them up! Stand up for your new family dynamic, it is not the norm and it shouldn't be handled as though it is. Protect the roots you started to put down and only keep positive and supportive people around you that will make your life better!