Now a days there are a lot of families coming together in what is known as a blended family, but I like to refer to as a family smoothie. Just like a smoothie it only takes one bad mix of fruit or juice to leave an awful taste in your mouth. Blended families are becoming more and more common with the rise in the divorce rate, and having a step mom or dad seems to be the new normal. Even if the parents can’t stand to be in the same room with one another after a divorce or breakup the parents need to put their differences aside and do what’s best for the child or children. Just because you are exes and you don’t like him or he can’t stand you, doesn’t mean the children should suffer. You have the choice of making the children yours, mine or ours.
I don’t have nothing to say to you…
One of the reasons that the parents are probably not together would be a lack of communication. If the parents didn’t communicate when they were together how will they communicate while living in separate households? This thought process is completely wrong and now that you are living in two separate households you have a lot to say to the other parent. Texting and Emailing seem to be the communication of choice but is not always the best way to relay your concerns or message. When it comes to the child/children parents need to go back to the old school way of communicating which is face to face or via a phone call. Parents can even do a face time but whatever way they choice to communicate about the wellbeing of the child needs to be done with voices and not data. Parents, communication is the first ingredient needed and will be the base for the family smoothie
You disrespectful little…
By now we already established that you are not together or that you can’t stand each other but there is no need for disrespect. Your children don’t need to see their parents fighting, arguing, or calling each other out of each other’s names. The things you do now will have an effect on how your kids act in the future. There is no reason that your kids should be more mature than you and have to tell the parents to stop arguing. Shame on you if this has already happened but it is not too late for you. Good communication is almost impossible if the parents are too busy yelling at each other. Words get lost when voices get raised, which will only cause a misunderstanding of the points you each are trying to make. If you take the time and become less defensive when talking to each other the conversations will become shorter and a resolution will be found without talking bad/down to the other parent. Children are smart and pick up more things than parents realize, they are aware of who starts the arguments, or which parent needs to be put on a time out. Without respect there will never be good communications and the kids will bear the brunt of having dumb immature parents. Add respect as the second ingredient to the family smoothie for that enhanced taste.
I can’t stand you…
Though in most broken families the parents are not even in the same library let alone the same book, they will eventually need to find a way to get on the same page when it concerns the kid(s). Parents need to set their pettiness aside and do what is best for the children. Sit down with one another or face time each other if you can’t stand to be in the same room as them and come up with a transition plan. Make the break up look as seamless to the children as possible even if you hate the other parent. Why should a child know that their father isn’t sh*t or that the mother is a gold digger. Doing this puts unneeded pressure on the children and forces them to keep secrets or take sides. Keep your opinion about the other parent away from the children. Come up with a parenting plan. If a child is on punishment at one house then they should be on punishment at the other house. Children are sneaky, little conniving creatures who prey on unsuspecting parents who don’t communicate and they will eat the two of you alive if you’re not careful. When a child knows that their punishment will carry across households and that one parent isn’t the fun parent then their behavior will change for the better. Cohesiveness is the third ingredient that will sweeten the family smoothie like frozen yogurt.
You need to pay for…
Though child support is covered in an article that can be found by clicking this link [5 Course child support meal and the check please], I will say this about broken family finances. Get a child support order in place and live with what the judge determines. The problem some woman (only saying woman because more often than not they are the ones receiving child support) make is taking a good man who is living up to his responsibilities and who is there for his kids for granted. You can’t keep threatening to take the other parent back to court if you feel he/she needs to pay for something for the child. The biggest mistake that the person receiving child support does is telling a child “if your “other parent” won’t pay for it then you can’t do it” or “go ask your “other parent” for the money”. You wouldn’t let your 9 year old do your taxes so why give them the responsibility of talking to the other parent about finances. This is a subject that should be handled by the parents. 8 out of 10 times the other parent would be more willing to try to find a way to assist with financial matters if the person asking came to them with no demands or attitude. You have to help them want to help you so starting your conversation with “you need to pay”, or “I have been paying for everything and you haven’t done anything financially for your kids”, or blah blah blah will not work. Besides how quickly the other parent forgets that they are receiving child support (which should cover most things) and if the other parent doesn’t have extra to give when you want it, the only thing you can do is to accept it and not get an attitude. Communicate upfront about finances, respect the other parent’s right to still have a life, and come together and discuss financial matters not covered by previous agreements. I will leave this topic here and you will be able to read the rest in the child support article sometime in the future. Add a sprinkle of financial togetherness to the family smoothie to give it that consistency
I don’t want your “fill in the blank” around my children.
Eventually your ex will start dating and for some reason you won’t like that person. The reason you don’t like them usually has nothing to do with who they are as opposed to who they are with. Remember you are the ex and they are the NEXT that eventually may become the Step parent (time for another not so shameless plug, click this link to read [Forgiving your ex so you can move on with the next]. Now if they hurt your child then is understandable to not like them but if they are treating the children with respect and the children like them then who are you to stand in the way of that. Your verbal dislike of the “next” does not go unnoticed by the kids. In fact, it makes the situation for the kids confusing. Your child may like the “next” but wants to stand by you so they show out when they are at your exes. Or your child may not understand why every time they come home you hit them with the third degree “what did they do to you”, what did that “fill in the blank” say to you”,” they did what”. As I stated before kids are not dumb and they will use this lack of togetherness to their advantage. So do not, I repeat do not fly off the handle when a child tells you something because most of the time it may not be the complete story. Instead go have a conversation with the ex and next then bring the child into the discussion and explain on both sides why you got upset but after talking to the ex and next and the child that it was a misunderstanding or whatever the resolution may be. The key to this is to show the child you’re working as a team. Once the children see they cannot divide the parents life will be easier. Oh and once things start getting serious with a next and you are thinking about bringing them around the kids, the ex, the next, and yourself should come together and communicate respectfully. The three of you should discuss the movements going forward coming up with a plan that shows the children togetherness that will not interrupt the consistency that is in place already.
To recap when you mix the following ingredients:
and step next cherry on top
you will not only have a beautiful family smoothie. You will also have a healthy one for the kids that does not include “yours” or “mine” but OURS!!!