Money Matters. Money is a difficult topic no matter what, but even harder in a blended family. In a blended family commitment, trust, and the guarantee of permanence can be underlying issues when dealing with money. It can be difficult to put together the best way to manage money in a blended family. It’s very important when combining incomes that you discuss where the money goes and how it is spent and on what. Learn the different ways on how to manage the finances and whether you want to have separate or joint bank accounts. To learn about the many ways to manage money, click here.
Establish Boundaries. Setting boundaries is important, it teaches everyone to honor one another, to respect privacy and values each family member. Setting boundaries are not just for your stepchildren but also for the ex-spouses as well. Boundaries for the ex-spouses can be only contacting when it is related to the children. For example: Not having the ex-spouse call you when they need to talk about a recent breakup or when they need someone to fix the garage door. The ex-spouse needs to rely on someone else to do those things; it isn’t your spouse’s job anymore. As for the children, an example of establishing boundaries could be about them sleeping in their own bedrooms and not sharing a bed with you. For more on boundaries, click here.
Family Meetings. Now that you are a blended family or living together under one roof and brought each other’s children into the marriage, you need to hold family meetings. You need to have family meetings to go over things such as house rules, chores, conflicts, or talk about upcoming vacations and events. In the beginning, you want to have these family meetings at least once a month. To learn more about family meetings and how to facilitate them, click here.
Chore Chart. Every family should have chores whether the family is a biological family or a blended one. Establishing age appropriate chore chart helps children learn life skills that they will need when they become adults and move out on their own. To learn more about it and see examples of age appropriate chores, click here.
Schedule Family Fun Nights/Days. Depending on when you have all of the children together you need to establish family fun activities to help bring you close as a family. It’s good to always set a day to do it and always try to keep it scheduled for that day so they can expect it every time they are with you. Like, for example, set it on a Saturday, where every Saturday or every other Saturday you do something as a family. To learn more ideas on how to do this, please see The Fun Box and the Fun with Children posts.
Optional – Even doing 1:1 things between the Stepparent and Stepchild could also help strengthen relationships too. To learn more about the benefits of 1:1 time, click here.
Date Night Out. It’s so important that you put your spouse first in your marriage. It is important that you don’t loose touch with yourselves as a couple. You need to go on dates with just the two of you without the children once a week or at least twice a month if possible. It will help strengthen your marriage and keep you both feeling connected with one another as a couple. To learn more about date nights, click here.
Church & Religion. Talk and discuss attending church and how often you want to attend church as a family. Also, talk about whether you want to have family bible studies and family devotions together and how you want to teach your children about God. “Do all that you can to take your kids by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” Ephesians 6:4.
Find and Join a Support Group. Look for a group for Stepmoms and one for Stepdads where you can go ask questions, get advice, and encouragement when you need it. And believe me; you will need it from time to time. Don’t do this journey alone. Talking with other Stepparents will really help you become a successful blended family. There is a closed group on Facebook just for Stepmoms called: Stepmoms Are Us, come check it out and request to become a member, you will be glad you did.