Blending Families with Trevor Mullineaux
At some point, you will find yourself in a new relationship and you’ll want to bring your kids up to speed. If you’re the primary parent, it can also be hard to carve out time for your new partner if you’re with your kids a lot. So how do you blend? The ideal time frame for introducing everyone is once you’re 90% sure this person is going to be in your life long-term. Kids don’t need to meet your girlfriend/boyfriend unless that person is going to be in their life. So, get babysitters when you go out and don’t force it. Depending on the age there are different strategies for introducing each other. For younger kids, you want to keep it simple, on neutral ground, like a park. For older kids, it may be better to do something less forced, like a movie, but regardless of age always keep it short. The message is that you need to be kind and respectful to each other, but you do not have to like or love these people. You want to build connections, not force intimacies. If you decide to live together, set a family mission that defines how you will treat each other and what behavior is acceptable. Discipline should come only from the primary parent with support from your partner. And if you can afford it, it is ideal to start at a new and neutral setting and make it OUR home. Lastly, if you are tempted to keep your new partner out of family events and away from your ex, it could backfire. He/she can feel rejected. You want to make sure (s)he is heard and validated.