Going through a divorce with kids is hard enough. When you remarry, you want to make absolutely sure your spouse will love your kids very well. Having the privilege to work with many blended families, I hear spouses ask questions like:
Does my spouse love my kids as much as I do?
How can I be a good step parent to my spouse’s kids?
How do I handle my kid’s jealousy when I love my spouse’s kids?
What do I do? My spouse parents very differently than I do!
How do we all love one another and just get along?
There are so many other questions to consider as well. Already remarried and facing some of these challenges? I want to encourage you. Sometimes, I’m sure it feels overwhelming to believe your blended family will be a loving family. As a licensed counselor and a child of divorce, I want to give you three counseling ideas to consider in parenting a blended family well.
Try to be a strong advocate for your spouse’s kids.
Look for ways to be empathic not just sympathetic with them and to seek out ways to understand why they are treating you and your kids the way they do. Strong advocates have other’s interests at heart. Seek respectful ways to hold both your own and your kids’ hopes, needs, and desires, as well as your spouse’s kids.
Try to find at least one activity, hobby, or interest your spouse’s kids like,
preferably one you don’t know how to do very well.
Kids love to feel important and desired. Look for something you would like to learn that your spouse’s kids do and you have an interest in learning more about. One of the most treasured memories I have of my stepfather is when he asked me to teach him to play the piano. He is tone deaf and he genuinely wanted to get to know me by allowing me to teach him how to play.
Try to establish a strong spiritual life together.
Holding to an old cliché “a family who prays together, stays together.” Make sure your family is working to establish a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. Consider as a family engaging in meaningful activities like: doing service projects in the community, having regular Bible devotions together, and asking daily how you can each pray for one another.
Even though you might not see immediate cooperation or willingness from your spouse or the kids, don’t give up fighting FOR your family. Kids watch and know way more than we think they do. Make sure you are living a Christ-like life and attitude, and in doing so; you will find the kids more willing to try to participate with you in your efforts of being the loving family God ordained you to be.