Due to the sheer number of divorced families, it stands to reason that many couples entering into new relationships both already have children. When these families come together, there are many changes that need to be considered and planned for.
Ashley and Jeff have been dating for six months and are talking about moving in together. Like many other couples nowadays, they are both divorced and have children from those marriages.
They are excited to have found each other, and they want to share their lives together. The children have met on quite a few occasions and seem to get along well. Ashley and Jeff really want this new relationship to work and talk at length about how best to manage it. They refer to the Brady Brunch regularly, hoping that their new family will unite just like that one.
Much like their divorces, this is a transition forced on the children due to the parents' needs. Ashley and Jeff know that they need to be focused on the best interests of their children during this time. They have decided to create a parenting plan to help them have conversations, make decisions, and guide them through what they hope will be a successful transition into a blended family. Ashley and Jeff think that it may be a good idea to share some of their plan with their ex-partners, to ensure that they have a comfort level around the new people in their children’s lives. Ashley and Jeff feel that their children are old enough to have a voice and be a part of the process. They are choosing to create the parenting plan through a series of family meetings. Some sections will be decided solely by Ashley and Jeff—as the parents and adults—other sections will be created using feedback from the children.
Here are some tips that Ashley and Jeff are following to ensure that their transition is successful. They can work for you, too!
Remember, your children want to see you happy and in a healthy relationship. You, in turn, want to show your children what a healthy relationship looks like. It will take some time and effort, but it will pay off, if you plan this transition and see it through.
Enjoy the chaos—it won’t last forever.