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Hers and Ours - Starting a Blended Family

May 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 147

You and your wife may decide to add to your family with children of your own. While clearly a decision for the adults, it greatly involves your stepchildren. It will alter their lives almost as much as it will change yours. Do not lose sight of that.

Does that mean they should be part of the decision? Not necessarily, but hypothetically asking them how they would feel about a baby brother or sister is not a bad idea. If they put up unusually strong opposition, that's something you have to consider.

Once you're expecting, you should involve them to a certain degree. Ask them about baby names. Maybe run it by them what toys to pick out for the new baby or how should you decorate the room. Make them part of the anticipation of this wonderful event.

Along the way, expect bumps, and plenty of them. This is normal. Be very clear in reassuring them of their place in your heart and how everybody in the household is going to have to adjust. Emphasize the importance of their role as a big brother or sister.

The age of your children plays a huge part in the transition to having a baby in the house. In my case, the kids were 10 and 12 respectively. At that point, they were quite secure in their place with their mom and me and probably didn't see the baby as much of a threat but truly a blessing.

While I can't say it was a conscious thing on any of our parts, having our daughter solidified our connection as a family. While vows before God connected us before-not to underestimate that-a live human being has become our bond. It's something neither child has verbalized to me, but I can certainly feel it.

After the baby comes home, you face more challenges. If you have never had a child of your own, this is a new experience for you as much as it is for your older children. Positioning it as a "we're all new to this, but we're in it together" can comfort them and you.

I've often referred to my older kids as co-parents. This is not because they watched the baby as much as I did, changed diapers or anything like that. As any new parent can appreciate, taking care of a baby can feel like a very isolating experience at times. Having your children come in to sit with the baby, read to him or her, play with him or her just to give you a modicum of privacy while you take a bathroom break is gold.

Besides giving you a break, these moments make them feel like they are part of raising the baby; like they have a stake in it. And they really do.

One of my favorite images is of our son holding the baby in his lap, feeding her, while he reads a book. My favorite photo of all-time is the reaction of both older children as they view their baby sister for the first time. Many photos can give you a sense of what's going on but few capture the moment. This photo does.

There will still be bumps along the way. After the baby arrives there are tons of adjustments to make. While you want your children to be part of things, you really should leave things like changing diapers, cleaning up vomit and many of the other wonderful things about parenting to the grownups. Unless the kids really want to do these chores.

The reasoning for that is you want their experience with their sibling to be a positive one, not one of drudgery. Making them responsible for that sort of thing can create resentment and that's the last thing you want.

What's incredibly interesting about this process occurs as the baby gets older and gets closer to the age of your stepchildren when you first met them. You begin to notice not only how the "baby" takes after you or your wife, but how he or she reminds you of the siblings. That's when the description of "co-parents" really gains validity.

When my wife and I made the decision to have a child, my expectation was that my stepchildren would warmly receive their new brother or sister. There was also the expectation they would grow tired of the baby or find it an annoyance at times. And that would have been perfectly fine. What actually happened exceeded anything I could have possibly imagined.

Our "baby", now five, has been a blessing for all of us. She brings us endless laughter and joy. She's also at various times been a binky for all of us when we're feeling down and out. It's quite common to see the older children go up to "the baby" and just ask for a hug, which she willingly delivers.

I wish every stepfather could experience what I have been blessed to have gone through with our children. You take a great leap of faith when you marry somebody with children and you can never be sure how that will go after you say "I do". Yet the rewards, and the feeling you get inside, can exceed your wildest expectations.

Source: EzineArticles
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Blended Family


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