First, I heard about the ABC's yesterday:
A - Attitude
B- Believe in yourself
C- Courage to do what is right
This is so pertinent in conducting your life based on the fact that you only have control of yourself and how you are going to influence your own destiny. Yes, it is our choices that determines our destiny. Yes, I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that stars align and fate brings people together or situations happen (bad and good) and it is our reaction to what is brought our way that makes us or breaks us, has us progressing or falling behind, becoming stronger or weaker. I heard recently that if you aren't moving forward you are indeed moving backward and I think that is absolutely true. Today, I guess I'm feeling decently strong because this situation with Preston is a test and how I come out of it is up to me - how I react, my attitude. This can make me stronger or make me miserable. It is so stinkin' hard and alot of days I am so anxious for bed time so the day can end. But every day I have the opportunity to choose to be stronger, to believe in myself and have courage.
The below points are a slight diversion from my main focus on health and Preston's progression with ADHD, but something I was thinking about none-the-less as a friend of mine is engaged and preparing to blend a family and I have been in the trenches of blended-familydom for almost five years now. These are my key points in blending a family. The hardest part of a second marriage is raising kids because the two of you have been doing it differently with different people. It's tough to switch things up and find the middle ground. I think that is why statistics aren't in our favor for second marriages with kids.
1) The marriage has to come first. This is not optional. So many people say the kids have to come first but the marriage is the foundation of the family. If husband and wife are not the first priority and their commitment is in the children, there is no foundation and the marriage will not last. Then you have another broken family, more heart ache more distress on the kids - they suffer the most from broken families. One is tough enough. You have to be committed to each other and the success of your marriage.
2) When you blend a family you have to come together and agree on the 'our family' rules and expectations and what consequences follow good and bad actions. VERY CLEAR boundaries have to be set that everybody adheres to. You also have to decide who does the enforcing/disciplining - do both parents do it? Does Dad discipline his kids and Mom disciplines hers? From what I have heard, it is best that step-parents assume the role of friend and example more than anything and that the blood parent needs to be the one to discipline their child. Both parents have to trust the other parent when it is this way. And that is why it is important that you find a middle ground with one another on how you are going to discipline and follow through.
3) Establish new traditions and keep some of your old traditions. I have read a little of Ron Deal's book, The Smart Step-Family and he talks about the importance of maintaining some of your 'previous' family traditions among establishing new ones. He also talked about the importance of having apart time - Dad with his kids, Mom with hers. The kids do still need that time with their parent. Consider having date nights with your kids. One on one time with all of the kids I think is also crucial to building a safe and trusting relationship.
4) What would you do in a situation if it was your own child? It gets challenging with a blended family keeping things on an even keel when it does come to disciplining. The most helpful thing I can think of is always consider how you would handle situations if it was your own child and act accordingly. You've got to think 'new day new jet' so often and as calls for consequence, love and forgive.
5) You are the parent. This goes out to every parent. I was telling Jason today that I think one of the biggest problems in society is that we can't find the middle ground on not being a helicopter parent and not being too lax and we want our kids to like us and we want them to be happy and do what makes them happy. They don't know at this age what real happiness is and how to find it. They need guidance. I am so glad I had it! I have a good head on my shoulders and some of it is a God-given gift but the rest of it came from having amazing parents that parented and had expectations that I was well aware of. It is VITAL to set boundaries and make them clear. It is okay to tell your kids that they can't go to a friend's house if there are no parents there. It's okay to expect them to go to church with you. It is okay that kids don't have the internet on their phones or iPods. It's okay that they don't have facebook pages before they are fourteen (at least!). It's okay that you know their email passwords and check their emails. With sexting and porn running rampant, you need to watch out for these things. It happens so easily and then they are snared in some awful trap that they didn't even see coming. We live in a technological age but in my personal opinion, nothing bad is going to come from them holding off on social networking sites or not playing video games. As long as they live in your house, you make the rules and you follow-through. End of story.
My stinking back is bugging me. Peace love and Isagenix