Love and Happiness in a Blended Family
Black Love: Advice to stepparents for creating a united front.
When we got married I was stressed, we had kids and a new house, and I didn't feel like Lamar and I were divvying responsibilities evenly. I wanted more help. I confided in a family member, and the response was, "Your husband's lazy!" I realized I had to check myself about what I said about my husband and who I said it to. If I'm saying something negative about him, that opens the door for others to say it as well.
TR: How did you learn to address discord and address grievances?
LT: We stick together and give a strong front even when we have problems. We save those conversations for when we're not in front of people. We definitely discuss the way we handle things and get our frustrations out. It's the only way to avoid allowing cracks into our foundation that lead to divorce in a lot of marriages.
TR: What practical tips do you have for blended families who are trying to make it work?
RT: Do your best to understand what everybody's needs are in your family, and try to work towards meeting them. As the biological parent, you're in the middle, and you must make sure you establish a strong relationship between the stepparent and the [child]. Make sure they both work on their relationship, no matter how hard it is, and even if you're not having a good time in the beginning. Make the extra effort.
LT: Early in the marriage, you have to have conversations about discipline, how [each of you parents] and about the noncustodial parent and what their role is. Hopefully, everybody is interested in the best interests of the child, but realistically, that's not always the case.
Also, don't get frustrated if the family doesn't bond immediately. It's a big misconception to think that within a year, you'll be like "Daddy" or "Mommy." It can take a long time for that to happen. Don't feel like you're failing; just do the best you can.