How To Create Healthy Blended Families

139If you and your partner are getting ready to move in together with kids this can be an exciting time for everyone, but at the same time, it can be a little worrisome. It is never simple to just move in together and instantly be a happy family with no issues whatsoever. It is a time to be celebrated, though! Here are some tips for taking the plunge and remaining happy under one roof!

Communication is Key!

Even though the relationship between you and your new love is wonderful, you still need to seriously think and weigh all options before you take the plunge. Even if the children of both (or either one) is going very well and you both are sure you are ready to take the next step, take time to communicate with each other as a future family. Talk about any rules, issues that could arise, and continue to spend more time together.

Consistency counts

With any family, philosophies on raising children must be consistent between the two parents. This includes anything that has to do with giving the children the best life possible, such as discipline, communication, traditions, family time, chores, and more. Before your families come together under one roof, it is imperative that future family meetings happen. It is also important that your stepchildren have the same rules, consequences, amount of chores, and all of the other areas of “family life” are consistent and equal. Once you do move in together, it may take time to “get your bearings” and have everything run smoothly.

Keep Tabs on Everyone

Be sure to talk with all of your children on a one-on-one basis. Just because a child doesn’t say anything doesn’t mean that they have accepted their new lifestyle. Making conversation every single day with every child is necessary for a healthy relationship and a family full of love. This goes back to communication, but it is much more personal. Make every child feel loved and be in tune to their actions and emotions to be sure they are doing fine. Knowing how each child in the family is feeling will prevent negative feelings from getting out of hand, and keep the family bond even stronger.

Have Fun Together

The one thing about blending a family together is that it is not just about you and your new partner. Little lives are in your hands, and what better way to make new traditions and memories than to have fun with each other! When the whole family spends time together, bonds strengthen. This does not mean you have to take everyone out to eat, or on weekend getaways every chance you get. Family time is perfect when everyone is together in one room playing games, eating together, having a movie night, or just talking and laughing with each other.

Accept Mistakes

Blending a family together is not easy at first. Some children may have difficulty at first, and may be quite distant, even after communication beforehand. However, with proper preparation, communication, and lots of love, your family will be happy and healthy. Hiccups will occur, as with any family, but that is okay. If you are a strong family and have bonded well, you will be able to get through every bump in the road and be happy together.

Strengthen Your Family Bond by Reading Reputed Family Magazines

138A few dollars invested in subscribing to family magazines have their worth in gold! Indeed, nothing compares to a happy family when it comes to leading a contented life. The satisfaction of a healthy family life goes a long way in making you a complete man or woman. However, it is not as if you have a right to a happy family life. Rather, it’s a process that requires investment in terms of time, money, and emotions. It is something that can only be learned by observation and reading.

Observing the elders how they handle things at the family level and learning from their experiences is an experience in itself. It’s much better to learn from others’ mistakes than committing the same mistakes yourself and then, learning life’s lessons. To this end, reading some reputed family magazines, like Family Fun, Parents, Parenting Early Years, etc., could immensely help you with some informative articles and useful tips and advices regarding family matters.

The topics are family related, including relationships, health, money management, household matters, pet management, childcare, tackling emotional issues, home improvements, how to be a better parent, son, or daughter, and other self-help tips that could help you strengthen the familial bond you desperately want.

Basically, these magazines cover every aspect that needs to be stressed in order to nurture a happy family in all regards. Besides, they contain occasional discount coupons, contests, and other promotional campaigns that let you have freebies or discounted products of family importance. You will also get to learn recipes for healthy cooking that’ll keep your family not just happy, but healthy too.

All the articles, tips, and advices are either well researched or represent expert opinion that you can rely on without any verification.

You can either go to your nearest magazine stand or log on to the Internet for your favorite family magazine subscription. However, you stand to lose extra dollars should you prefer to subscribe offline because most magazine stands do not offer discounts on list price of the magazines. Though subscription price is always less than single-issue price, yet you can save substantially if you elect to subscribe online from one of the reputed websites. The savings could go as high as 90% off the actual subscription price.

Top 10 Communication Strategies For A Happy, Loving Family Life

138Is your home the peaceful, happy place you always wanted it to be? A loving environment is essential to a happy family life. But as much as you love your partner and kids, frustrations, disagreements, and arguments can allow an entirely different atmosphere to permeate the entire house. One negative word leads to another, all day long!

So what can you do to reduce this negativity?

As it turns out, most of the difficulties you encounter with your loved ones most likely occur from miscommunications.

Try these communication strategies and activities to bring that loving feeling back into your home:

1. Be open and honest with one another. While being honest, be kind when saying something that may cause a family member any distress. They are more receptive when you use kind words and a pleasing tone of voice.

2. Have some fun each day. It’s important to have fun together as a family. Family fun doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. It can be as simple as having ice cream cones or playing with your pets. Simple things can make a big difference in how the communication flows in a home.

3. Set priorities for chores that everyone must do. Agree on who does what chores and when they should do them. Let everyone participate with age-appropriate tasks. Write them on a chore chart for clear communication. Setting them up ahead of time can prevent a lot of arguments!

4. Keep privacy boundaries. Adults and kids both need their privacy on a regular basis. Ensure that the kids understand the importance of respecting this priority.

5. Have a family meeting each week to discuss family issues. Find a time in which everyone in the family can attend. Hold the meeting every week, preferably at the same time. In the meeting, let each family member speak their mind, even if it’s a complaint. Solve challenges, run ideas by each other, and make plans for the future together.

6. Allow some free time. Everyone needs some time to do things on their own or with their friends. This can be a variety of activities, depending on the person. Meeting this need will help each family member feel more satisfied, fulfilled, and open to communicating.

7. Spend holidays and special events together as a family. Strengthen your family bond with special occasion family traditions. Let the kids share their ideas about the occasion, too.

8. Establish a weekly family night. Make time just to enjoy being together. Watch movies, play games, or have story time. Encourage laughter and open communication.

9. Learn to negotiate. Learning to compromise and come up with win-win solutions for everyone involved is a priceless skill that will serve your family members well throughout their lives.

10. Say, “I love you.” Each day, remember to show your spouse and kids how much you love them. Share loving, encouraging words and hugs freely throughout the day – even if it’s a hard day. (Especially if it’s a hard day!)

A happy home makes a very nice place to live, play, and look forward to the future! A happy home welcomes your loved ones when they return from work or other outings. They can leave the stresses of the outside world behind as they enter the loving sanctuary of home.

Practice these communication strategies to create a loving environment in your home. You’ll be glad you did!

Jan Marie Mueller is the founder of ThinkBrilliantly.com and a firm believer in the value of personal growth and development for a better, more productive life. She´s passionate about helping women discover and achieve their full potential. Jan´s also a business owner, author, community volunteer and co-founder of the German non-profit Helping Hands for Children in Tanzania.

Where is the “Happy Family” Gone?

137The actress Mia Farrow was the fifth of eight children and, at the age of nineteen, speaking to a newspaper she expressed her regret for not being born in a smaller family saying:

“A child needs more affection than you can receive in a large family.”

At the age of twenty-five years she gave birth to twins and shortly after to another child.

At this point, with a modest size family, she could give her three children the life that she would have liked. Instead, in the following years she adopted two Vietnamese children, and over the following twelve years, had another child and has adopted six more children. All together, twelve children called her mum! Today she says: “The benefits of large families are enormous. I want to recreate my family of origin. “

Even Mia Farrow, then, during the years, realized that the family is one of the greatest resources we have in our lives. And family can be the most important and effective anti-depressant or medicine existing. Each member of a family may be vital to the wellbeing of the rest of the group and a vital resource in times of difficulty.

Psychologists and psychotherapists who, like me, work with families and do family therapy, are aware of this, but in reality if there was a more widespread knowledge on the resources of families, there would be much less work for us and people would live happier.

Members of families in fact, would understand the importance of finding within the family the inner resources to get out of deadlock situations and difficulties.

Although today many things have changed, starting from couples, the core of the family.

Couples today are crushed like in a sandwich where upstairs you find parents who, because of the phenomenon of the extension of old age require care and complex forms of relationships which have a heavy torque dynamics on the couple. Downstairs the children, who do not become independent at a young age anymore and somehow prevent the couple to find a balance and its own space.

In fact, so many couples bring into their bedrooms many thoughts and worries that certainly do not facilitate their relationships.

That’s why we have gone from “blind love” to “cautious love.” Couples before marriage already know perfectly well which are the divorce procedures and they bring into account the possibility of interrupting the marriage. This is a response to the difficulties they encounter.

These brief reflections may already be sufficient to realize that the basics for a “Happy Family” sometimes are already undermined from the start.

But family therapists are not convinced of this. The family, especially the extended family, has in it all resources to solve problems. Sometimes it may be sufficient with the help of a therapist, to highlight the dysfunctional dynamics that were created and magically transform them into functional. When a couple says: “We are here because we are worried for our child” therapists think: “The child will be my co-therapist, he is the greatest resource I have to help this family to be happy and functional. “

Yes, the member who brings the problematic symptom is the expression of the family distress, not necessarily has to be the one to be helped more. Sometimes, however, is the greatest resource therapist have to redesign the foundations and dynamics of a new family.

The same can be done by listening to the responses of grandparents during therapy. They can often bring a wave of positivity that can help to transform couple difficulties into something good.

That is why, finally, I want to say that all we should realize and perhaps remind us of the value of family, how and why it is so important.

 

Happy Family Life – Facts and Myths

136It is not easy to be a married couple. People always try to give you advice about something. Of course it is always done out of the best and noble motives. Naturally, it is all useless. Throughout the years of living together the couple inevitably breaks all the rules and taboos at least once. So how does it affect their life?

It is time to crush the most popular myths about family life. We have decoded the secret meaning of all the advice that husband and wife hear from the very first day they tie the knot.

So myth number one: you should not go to sleep without making up after a fight. Well, it sounds quite reasonable – why risk it, what if overnight the fight that has started over something trifle will only flare up and become a real problem? It is better to make up and go to sleep with a clear conciseness and have a fresh start the following morning.

Our opinion: just make a deal with your other half to postpone the continuation of the fight till the morning – especially if it is past midnight, you are exhausted, and there is no foreseeable end to the fight any time soon. After all, not every argument can be limited by time restrictions and unfortunately not all of us can stop at the right time.

Of course it is bad to go to sleep feeling irritated after the fight. But there are certain pluses to it too, even if sometimes you sleep on opposite sides of the bed or separate bedrooms, you will be OK – just as your marriage will be OK also.

The second myth is that the birth of the child makes you even closer with your spouse. Very often after the baby is born (especially if it’s the first baby) the spouses gain a countless number of subjects for conversations. Although all of them are connected to the baby one way or the other…

It seems like the relationship has risen to a new level, but then the husband leaves to work and the baby starts fussing or gets sick. The joy and amusement that this tiny being has aroused at first are gradually replaced with tiredness and irritation – what else can you expect after sleepless nights, nonstop breastfeeding, and diaper changes? Naturally, not a single decent mother will take her frustrations out on a baby, and the righteous anger falls on the one who happens to be nearby. And most often it is the beloved husband.

Our opinion: the birth of a child is above all a test of your relationship. Is there a solution? Yes. You should just accept the fact that all married couples go through a crisis and usually at the time when they expect it the least of all.

Furthermore, a woman needs help taking care of the baby – it is impossible to manage it on your own. The help and support of the loving husband do help a woman to not forget about the roles she has besides being a mother such as a role of a wife and a business woman. If a new mom still cannot even think about going out or is afraid to leave the baby with the dad, other family members, or a nanny, then do not rush things, let everything follow its course.

Another myth: a husband and wife should not only be in a romantic relationship, they should also be friends. It sounds great, doesn’t it? After all, a wife knows her husband better than anybody else, so why not consider him the best friend?

Our opinion: romantic relationship is different from a friendship. Do not have illusions that one person will manage to become a personification of both passionate love and fond friendship. It simply does not happen like that.

In other words, do not blame yourself if you do not feel a friendly attachment to your spouse – this is what you have your girlfriends/guy friends for. The important thing is to keep that connection with each other, and what you are going to call it is up to you. Always take an interest in your spouse’s life. When leaving in the morning, ask about your spouse’s plan for the day and when you see each other in the evening make sure to inquire about how the day went and how successful they were with their to-do-list.

The next myth is that unsatisfactory sex life is not a problem. The first few months after the baby is born, the hormones, exhaustion, and excessive irritability do not contribute to the improvement of your sex life, therefore you should not force things to happen. A husband should treat the situation with understanding and store up on patience.

Our opinion: at the risk of causing many young moms dissatisfaction, we strongly declare that it is exactly after the baby is born that sex is extremely important and even necessary to preserve your relationship.

When you are constantly busy, suffer from lack of sleep and chronic stress, when you see your husband only in the morning and late in the evening, sex is the quickest and the most effective way to strengthen your relationship, even if you do not any more feel that wild attraction that you used to feel when you first got married.

Also, do not think that good sex requires particular conditions such as romantic dinner, special atmosphere and privacy, otherwise you will wait for this “ideal moment” forever, which will serve you as one more cause for disappointment and stress. Do not wait for ideal circumstances, but rather use any opportunity you get. Learn to appreciate quick sex, it liberates and drastically broadens your sexual repertoire.

Another myth: do not fight in front of the kids. The sight of the parents fighting is awful and can traumatize the child’s nervous system. Small children unmistakably identify when you are irritated and angry (your mood transfers to them), and older kids watching their parents fight are scared that they can get a divorce.

Our opinion: watching the parents resolve a family conflict can actually be even useful for a child since he or she finds out that even the closest people sometimes cannot reach a mutual understanding. It is impossible to avoid conflict. If your family life is not clouded by disagreements then you have found your ideal partner. But ideal is so boring…

In other words, watching the parents fight is okay for kids and even useful. But there is one condition (as always). If your fight is taking place in front of the underage witnesses, you should fight by the rule. Instead of calling the spouse names, just express your concern to them in a civil way. Condemn the action (or the lack of such) and not the person. If the fight is too heated and solving it peacefully is not possible then try to make sure that the kids are not in the room.

And the last myth: do not take your other half for granted. This is the secret to happy and strong marriage, isn’t it? Once you start taking your spouse for granted, you stop appreciating them.

Our opinion: taking the other half for granted means trusting them completely, relying on them and believing that he or she will be there by your side when you need them.

It also means that you have taken on certain responsibilities and roles in your family. When you have a family and kids, being a absolutely sure in your partner only provides support and gives strength to your relationship. However, do not forget that taking the other half for granted and taking all the sacrifices for granted are two different things. A simple “thank you” works miracles.