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Life in the Blender: Step Parents and Siblings

Ah, if we could all just be like the Brady Bunch, America's first blended family.  Unfortunately, reality is usually very different from fiction, especially sitcom fiction.  When blending two families into one there are so many things to consider. Here are some thoughts on how to make the transition easier.

First, make sure that you have a good relationship with your teens before you seek to build a serious relationship with someone else.  Remember that you brought these children into the world and you have an obligation to see them safely into adulthood.  Once they are well launched, you will have the rest of your life to pursue personal relationships.

Next, involve your teens in your decision to re-marry.  If they are strongly opposed to the idea, give them a chance to articulate why and work with them to resolve these issues. There is a very good chance that all they really want to know is that they are still important to you.

In addition to pre-marital counseling, arrange to meet together and apart with a family counselor in the weeks leading up to and following your re-marriage.  This will give everyone a chance to express his feelings in a safe environment and may diffuse some future bombs.

Work with your new spouse before the wedding to agree on who will live with whom, who will be in charge of disciplining each set of kids and what the rules of the house will be.  It is vitally important that everyone live by the same rules once you live together, no matter what your previous policies were.

Once you are re-married, give your teen and his new step sibling’s lots of space.  They will need it in order to establish their own place in your new family.

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