Blended Families: Growing together

blended familiesA good pastor friend of mine (who also got me started blogging, and whose sermons can be found here) mentioned to me that I need to stop apologizing at the beginning of my posts about how long it has been since I last posted.  So I’m taking his advice, and I’m not going to apologize that I haven’t posted in two weeks.

Did I do that right?

When I do family counseling with blended families, or step families, I often remind them that any time there is a major change to their family structure it takes at least two years to get used to it, to get settled.  A major move, a new child, a step child switching houses etc.  I often see families where parents get married and they expect things to be settled soon; two or three months at the most.  I wish it were that easy.

What happened to me today was very fun, interesting, exciting even.  My step-son came to live with us almost four years ago, and that one move set off a chain reaction of other major moves, the last of which was eight months ago.  We’ve been having a hard time with what I consider to be more little things lately, and as my wife and I were pondering why were we having a hard time with these things it struck us both separately: we’re getting settled.  The fun/interesting/exciting part was we both came to this conclusion on the same day quite separate from each other.  When we finally saw each other this evening I was very excited to share my observation with her, only to find out she had the same one.

The reason it struck me was even more exciting.  My step-son and I got frustrated with each other over the weekend.  I’m sorry to say, that I was already tired at the time and over-reacted a bit.  As I was processing my reaction I used to work hard to protect him from me over-reacting because he was still new to living with our family full time.  This time, the reaction I had the same reaction to him that I would have any of my other children.  It only took me three years and six months to get there.

The final thing that struck me was how I hadn’t realized it before.  I teach this to other families on a fairly regular basis, but even with that knowledge of the process It’s so hard to have that level of self awareness when you are in the middle of major changes.  This is especially true when these changes that involve family, children, and blended families.  Sometimes all you can do is muscle through the changes, because that’s what you have to do.  You have to keep moving and take care of the big things first.  It might take two years, or four years or longer even, but the little things will eventually start to fall into place.

Just my $.02