Family bonding is hard. Blended family bonding is even harder. Blended families take a lot of effort to make work. Think about it, you are getting two family sub-units and asking everyone to get along. It takes work, lots of planning and lots of patience. I have read many books, articles and spoken to many other parents and found 5 ways that work for us.
Before anything else, I want to mention that it is very important to remember that bonding takes time. Remember, you are trying to introduce individuals with different personalities and asking them to get along. Patience is an extreme virtue in these situations.
If you haven't read my blog before, let me introduce to you our blended family:
When JC and I started dating almost five years ago, I already had a son, Adrian, and he had two children, Amberly and Gian. I also help raise my niece, Ivanna, so she is like a daughter to me and also part of our family. When we first got everyone together, there was lots of crying (from me and JC) out of frustration. We could have easily given up but we kept at it. Today, along with all the children's other biological parents, we are one big supportive family.
5 Ways For Blended Families To Bond
1. Communication is key. We have lots of open communication in our home. All members of the family are allowed to express how they feel in any given situation as long as it is done with respect. I feel that children need to be able to express themselves freely. There are days where they will be frustrated with each other or with us. I want to know about it. Also, communication amongst parents is extremely important. All the parents and grandparents in this relationship are able to speak to each other as needed. The children come first.
2. Travel together. This is so important to us. Whether we go out of town or have a staycation, vacations are a great bonding experience. From planning to experiences, there are opportunities to voice opinions, make decicions and bond. We, JC and I, take two vacations with the kids annually.
3. Play. Play is the easiest way for children to bond. We specifically plan park days where we just hang out and play together. This way they learn teamwork and social skills. They also get to see their parents at a juvenile level which I believe is important for children.
4. Make friends with other blended families. Children need to feel safe and understood. We have noticed that since becoming friends with other blended families, our kids have really opened up. They see that there are others in their situation and that it's not so terrible.
5. Snuggle. What do I mean by snuggle? I mean, sit on the couch and watch a movie together or just have a family hug session. Show affection to each other and make sure the children feel loved.
Creating everyday snuggle-up moments helps us bond. I added this to my list because one day as I was doing one of my many loads of laundry, I noticed the Snuggle® bear on my bottle of fabric conditioner and realized that we weren't showing that much affection to our children. It was a sudden spark of emotion that I felt, all from that adorable bear! I now keep a bottle of Snuggle® Ultra Blue Sparkle® fabric conditioner in my laundry for two reasons: one because it smells amazingly fresh and two, it reminds me to snuggle my kids!! While, I was shopping the other day, I also noticed that Snuggle® made scent boosters and who wouldn't love an extra boost of fresh scent? I picked up a container in blue iris bliss® scent and now all my clothes and towels smell incredible! Snuggle® Ultra Blue Sparkle® fabric conditioner and blue iris bliss® Snuggle Scent Boosters® are better together just like families are better together!
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