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Blended families -visitor or family member?

When you are blending a family, you’re always trying to create family moments together. You take portraits, start new traditions, etc. and you spend most of your time making sure your children are comfortable with your new spouse and new lifestyle. But what about the child’s other parent? What about dad? Too often I hear mothers telling their children that they are going to “visit” dad or that it’s dad’s night to be with them.

There are many studies that conclude that children with divorced parents that have “equal parenting” situations thrive emotionally, and even physically. These children have less psychological problems and have a lower chance of getting into trouble or exhibiting problematic behavior. See Family Law Studies and Active Fathers

Being involved with only one family leads to feelings of guilt and loss for the child. The remedy? Both houses are their “homes”. You may need to establish a primary address for school or perhaps another institution, but the child doesn’t have to know about that. Each home should have a unique family with chores, traditions, and family time. Each house should have a bedroom for the child with its own things: clothes, furniture, stereo, etc. Too many moms pack their children’s things to go to dad’s house, which makes them feel separate from their father and a visitor in his home. If he is remarried and has new stepchildren or even children of his own, the child will feel less important than the children that live there and like an outsider. Children should be allowed to call both houses “home” and take their things, whether clothes, gifts, or money to whichever house they choose without having restrictions on them just because they were purchased by a certain parent. This will give the child a sense of self, a sense of belonging, and a sense of identity. If both parents are willing to set aside their fears or selfishness, this should be a priority in blending the families.

 For more info: For examples of  family actvities in your area to start new traditions, see Lake Arrowhead's Calendar of Events

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