Do you build your blended family on the feeling of guilt and do your ex’s words have more meaning than yours?

I was happy to have begun writing ‘Check your foundation of your blended family’ for my new digital training for Danish fusion families, when it suddenly dawns on me, why it is sometimes impossible and confusing to get a fusion family to work.

Fortunately, I also know that we can do something about it, if we take the time to pause, reflect, and be honest about our actions or lack thereof.

I found out that we all too often bring own unresolved ‘bagage’ from our past into our new blended family.

With this blog I want to help you get the ‘cleaning-process’ started or at first maybe just create awareness of “yes, yes she is right, maybe I should look at what my actions are based on.”

If you’re ready, the sooner the better (but later is also ok) let’s take a look at the foundation of your blended life.

Become aware of what controls your actions
I would like to ask you something. Do you feel guilty as a parent? Guilty about being divorced? Guilty about having new partner? Guilty about having left your ex?

What you feel guilty about is, initially, not so crucial, you just have to become aware that the feeling of guilt is (still) your ‘companion.’ Even if you lived in your blended family for several years, do not despair when discovering that the guilt is still there. It’s actually quite common.

There is a big difference in how we react when our feeling of guilt influences our actions:

We women might typically transform into the mother hen protecting our children against all ills, all defeats and always trying to save them from evil and not really allow our partner to discipline them. (Even if we know he/she is right in doing so, we do it better!)

The men might typically keep their distance, pretend everything is ok, withdraw and do not really set the necessary limits, neither towards the kids nor their exes all while their partner tells them they are a wimp.

The above two examples are exaggerated, but maybe you feel there is some truth to it or maybe you hear your partner’s voice as you read my words…(sorry.)

Regardless of our reaction patterns, we owe our children and our partner to change these conditions. It requires great courage, I know, but I believe that we can do it. Slowly, little by little we can become better and better at changing the conditions.

Clues to discover how you might compensate and divert
Most of us are, often unconsciously, compensate and sometimes divert when it comes to our children or ex, precisely because we feel guilty. We need immediate relief, even if it is short lived.

It is not sustainable in the long run and cannot form the basis for either a strong relationship or a healthy and honest bond with the children.

It is important for me to emphasize that when we act in accordance to our hearts and innermost values, then the relationship with our beautiful children and new partner will benefit.

So I want you to reflect on the following questions:

First: Are there situations where you don’t discipline the children and just let it go? If you find it difficult to answer, so you may want to compare it with how you would react in the situation, if you were still together with your ex.

Second: When you set boundaries towards your ex, do you find your partner criticizing you for not marking them clearly?

Third: Have you experienced situations, when your partner does not understand why you become defensive when he/she points out that your actions are NOT in the best interest of your fusion family?

Fourth: When you speak with your ex about the kids, are you using the word “WE” about your partner and yourself?. “WE” want the kids to etc. etc. instead of “I” want the kids to……etc. (Consciously using the word “WE” communicates to both to your partner and the world, that you are united)

From the answers to the questions above, I am sure that now you have a pretty good indication of how (or if) your feeling of guilt controls your actions. Then it’s time to do something about it.

What do we communicate to our children and our partner?
If we let guilt about being divorced control our words and actions toward our children, we tell them indirectly that our actions and decision were wrong.

Is this what you truly want to convey? Not very likely.

We must put ourselves behind the wheel of our lives and fully accept the choices we made and the impact they have on both our children and ourselves.

We must comfort the children when they are sad, but also help them realize the benefits they have now and in the long run.

We also have to show our partner, in words and actions, that he/she and the children are the most important thing in our lives now. That we will do everything we can to strengthen our new family and to set the necessary (and reasonable) limits for our children and the ex.

Make peace with the guilty conscience and get behind the wheel of your life.

Now I ask you to stop letting the bad conscience controlling what you do and stop beating yourself up. Praise yourself that you have the courage to read this whole blog. You should be proud of that.

What is done is done and you still cannot change the past, no matter how much your worry about it. Remember the positive outcome of the changes you made and will make in the future.

Your future guidance should now include the following questions:

What would I do and say if I was not divorced? The answers will no longer influences the way you discipline your kids.

If I always have my fusion family’s best interests in mind when I make arrangements with my ex, what is important for me to say in order to make me and my partner appear as a team?

If you’ve read my blog this far, I know you have started pondering that maybe there is something that before was blurred and now has become clear.

If you dare and are ready (otherwise wait few months), then have an honest talk with your partner about how he/she can help to no longer letting you be controlled by the feeling of guilt.

Always show loyalty to your relationship, both in words and actions. Show that your relationship and your family are your first priority…… and …… that the ex can wait until you and your partner decide on whether he/she will be invited over for coffee.

Have a good day. If you like my post please LIKE The Worlds Biggest Fusion Family on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.

Sincerely,

Charlotte

 

Fill your role as step-parent and feel your eligibility…. straight to the heart.

My husband’s phone is ringing. It is my son Nicklas. He wants to talk to his fusion dad.

After many years of cohabitation, it is obviously not so strange, but when I start to sense the conversation’s content and seriousness, I get up to find my own phone.

I’ll just check and to make sure (just like that for good measure) that my son of course called his mom first, because I am closest to him, so he would naturally seek the advice of me first….or?

To my great surprise I see that he has not called. He has not even tried to reach me!

My spontaneous reaction is that I get hurt, because he did not choose to call me. My hurt makes me start the trailer for an extremely well-performed drama called “A mother who loses her son to her husband”.  Her son no longer trust her. Her son no longer believes that his mother is competent enough to be his advisor.

In my inner movie trailer, I see myself kicked off the winner platform. Right down to second place. From there I stare fiercely up at my husband.

My drama stops here fortunately. I manage to stop myself before my drama unfolds.

The conversation my husband and Nicklas had was (thankfully) so long that I got to listen, be touched and grateful and angry again, when I was told that not everything concerned me. And I had to accept it. I did this and thought “it’s all good.” Just how it should be. That’s what I had struggled to reach.

I will therefore in this blog help you to fill your role as a fusion parent and feel eligibility…. straight to the heart.

But before we get started I would just remind you to be loving and patient with yourself. Do not beat yourself up when you fail, become a coward, lose your temper, hide behind your boyfriend, or stop when your limits are reached.

Look at every challenge as a stepping stone, because each one of them is an important part of your development path towards being authentic in your role as a fusion parent. Expect that you must exert yourself in the role, again, again and again.

The 5 steps of filling your role as a fusion parent.
First:
Know yourself, your strength and vulnerability, so you can recognize your patterns and reactions when you get them presented in various guises. Know what you need and take responsibility for it, so you do not project your unmet needs onto the children. For example, you know you are jealous of the kids, then claim a little grown-up time with your partner, even when children are there. Half an hour’s loving presence time, when you get home from work, can create miracles for the rest of the evening. Create routines with your partner who supports you in the areas where you need it most.

Second:
You must have your partner’s full support, space and permission to engage in a disciplinary role towards the children. He/she must back you up, both in word and action. You must stand side by side and explain to the children that YOU also “govern” them. Stand together as a team affectionately towards the children. Get him/her to help you define your role. Be honest with him/her about your feelings (even if  you are ashamed.) Ask him/her to help you on the road.

Third:
Practice quietly saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the kids. Define your limits towards them and be aware of what is going to be said in a positive way. Find little situations where it’s reasonably easy for you to do and practice them. Preferably with your partner in the room (in the beginning) so the kids can see that their father/mother “allow” you to express yourself. Remember to always say “I want to …. or it’s important for me to ….” Explain to kids what you want, instead of blaming.

Fourth:
Find your niche. Find the area you are passionate about where you can involve the children, completely independent of your partner. Children are (like us adults) attracted to enthusiasm. Perhaps you love to cook or gardening. Share generously of your knowledge and show the kids your passion for what you do. It will rub off, even if it does not immediately seem like it.

Fifth:
Make you own [mental] list of areas where the children might as well address you as their father/mother. Also give them their pocket money, make their sandwiches (do a little more than their father/mother), ask about their day, tell them about your day, do small (un-) visible things for them. Put for example a rose in their room for when they come home. Create your own charming characteristics that the children do not see in their parent. (You create small loving bonds). Show the children confidence, show them in word and action that they can trust you.

One day you will find that they come to you and not their parent. It’s big. Enjoy.

Help the children to see the benefits of having a fusion parent.
You and your partner should be good at highlighting the benefits of being a child of divorced parents and having “new” adults come into their lives and thus a larger family, with all positive pleasant socializing it brings.

Maybe not so pedagogically correct, but it also works to remind them of twice the amounts of gifts, birthdays, Christmas, holidays, etc..

Point out to the kids that they can take everything they like best from the adults in their lives. Who is best to talk to about boy/girlfriends? Who is best at baking their favorite cake? What is best at fixing things? Who is best at helping with homework?

If we are good at helping children to see the benefits of having received one or maybe two fusion parents in their lives, we help them (and us) to faster acceptance of their life now – “It’s what my father/mother chose and it is also good for me.”

I wish you all the best. I look forward to hear how you fill in you role as a fusion parent.

If you like my post please LIKE The Worlds Biggest Fusion Family on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.

Love,

Charlotte

A system to deal with the difficult conversations in your blended family!

In a depressed and bad mood, everyone keeps to him or herself and wishes that this would pass quickly so the mood in the house will change.

Nobody in our family says anything. It feels like a bad dream you just want to wake up from.

The entire house reeks of negative vibes and bad energy.

Everyone in your family remains passive. Everyone feels the bad energy.
But no one dares to speak up. Properly they all think:

What if I am wrong?
What if they refuse to acknowledge what I feel?
What if they say it’s just something I’m imagining?
What if they become defensive?

Do you recognize any of the above?
The above described can easily happen in the fusion family and it can be very difficult to manage in a positive way. But it can be done, if you have courage and dare to take a stand and put words on your emotions. (Yes, it is scary, but the result immeasurable).

Clear the air to make you whole family breathe again
You want to say something to clear the air, so the whole family can breathe again.

I’m a big believer in defining rules and systems, which effectively can help the fusion family in any predicament.

Inspired by author Jack Canfield, I suggest you introduce “The Fusion Family heart-to-heart-talk” to your family. And yes it might fee a little awkward in the beginning, but give it a try anyway. (You can always explain to your family that a silly Danish fusion family coach suggested this method).

By occasionally choosing a structured form of communication it becomes easier to deal with difficult conversations. Buy a soft red heart pillow (or something else) that you physically can hold in your hands.

Explain to everyone in your family the value and the rules of this ‘game’ and admit that it could feel a little awkward and weird at first, but you insist on giving it a chance and that this is a good way to be heard by the other family members. You want to make sure they will be heard.

The rules are as follows:

  • Sit in a circle or around a table
  • The person who has the heart is the only one to speak (set a time frame)
  • Talk about how you feel
(make sure that the sentences are  formulated with: “I feel….when…)
  • Do not judge or criticize what each person says (just listen to each other)
  • After your turn pass the object or the heart to the left of you
  • Keep the information confidential
  • Do not stop talking until you have explained how you feel

Make sure your family understands the rules. Write them down on a piece of paper.

Start by letting the heart go around at least 1 time, so everyone has an opportunity to be heard. If no one says anything in the beginning, start another round. Someone will eventually have the courage to speak.

If a family member breaks the rules and/or talks when it’s not his/her turn, refer him/her to the written rules.

End the game when everyone is done talking.

By using a heart you will be reminded of the goal of this loving form of communication, which is an honestly and loving family life for all of you.

If you like my post please LIKE The Worlds Biggest Fusion Family on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.
Sincerely,

Charlotte

 

 

 

 

What are your “triggers” in your blended family?

In my newletter last month, I wrote about “triggers” in a blended family. I have just been on vacation with my fusion family (and my parents and my sister and her family) and felt on my own body how important it was to know my worst “triggers”.

It really helped me, so now  I want to share the content of the newletter with all of you who read my blog. So here here we go:

I have been reading a book on conflicts and became inspired to share some of the author’s good points with you.

We all have “triggers” in regards to people and situations in our everyday lives. Most of us experience that several times a day.

One of my triggers is when my children chew with their mouth open when they eat. I get completely tense. Just like I cannot stand, when the clerk at the check-out counter is in a crappy mood and takes it out on me. Then I want to tell her to get a new job!

We “trigger” on different things. What makes the big difference is whether you react to it or not.

Only 10 percent is due to what actually happens.
Every time you become angry, sad, insulted, mad, sad, introspective, outward-reacting because of a comment or response from another human, then it is only 10 percent of the reaction caused by what the person said. The remaining 90 are already there.

I think this is worth trying to remember, that we often interact with our entire “baggage” when we react.

Know your triggers in your fusion family.
It is very useful in a fusion family to know each other’s triggers. Knowing exactly what you and your partner’s triggers are, and also what triggers the children.

Have fun with this exercise and include the kids (if they are old enough):

• Find three things, phrases, attitudes or lack of reaction in your family which are your triggers and explain them to each other.

Remember that neither you nor the other family members are trying to annoy each other. You are just telling each other what happens to you when you encounter the trigger.

Enjoy.

If you like my post please LIKE The Worlds Biggest Fusion Family on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.
Sincerely,

Charlotte

 

Child disciplining is a source of eternal disagreements – understand why and what you can do about it

Do you know the feeling of discovering that you suddenly find yourself fully engaged in
“arm wrestling” with your partner? In a heated discussion where one word becomes many unintended words.

You have stopped listening long ago. You are only concerned with one thing. Being right. Winning the discussion. At any cost. The arguments no longer have meaning. It feels like you are threatened to death, so that’s why you need the victory. For redemption of getting the anger out of your system so you can have some peace.

Fact is that here you have two people, each with their position on a topic. Therefore, there really is no winner of the discussion, but rather two hurt people who need to retreat and reflect on the hard words spoken.

The discussions in the fusion families about parenting often happen this way and it takes its toll on your relationship, if it happens too often.

Therefore, here is my best advice for what you must be aware of and a method you can follow to get through your disagreements and reach a common ground.

When the “storm” is brewing
When you disagree on the upbringing of your children, then it is good to know from which perspective you are discussing it.

Regardless of whether you both have children or not, the following statements are therefore worth looking at:
• Deep down do you think you’re doing pretty good and do not feel like your partner should interfere with the upbringing of your children? You can easily find out for yourself? You do not need his/her input?

• Deep down you feel mad when your partner points out something about your children and you feel it is a criticism of you.

• Deep down, you have not really accepted that both of you have a role in disciplining your children.

• Deep down you think it’s incredibly uncomfortable to discipline his/her children, just like you cannot stand it when he/she says something about yours.

How well do these statements fit you? Relax now – These statements fit most of blended families. You are not alone!

The good news is that now you are fully aware of how it works, so therefore you have the option to change it. But it requires patience, trust (from both of you) and plenty of practise.

Try to find out what it takes to get the statements to disappear – one by one.
Can your partner say or do something different?
What do you need to happen for you to accept and allow the disciplinary role?
Is it over a good glass of red wine on Friday night (while holding your hand) that you can best handle criticism or interference?

Be patient and loving toward yourself. Be honest with your partner and explain how you feel currently. It takes time, a long time…. But you will get there.

It is good to remind yourself that you must “build” your blended family from the same blue print and not on your own drawing solely.

How do you come up with a common goal?
Two families will become one. Two different forms of discipline and values have ​​to become one. Now you are able to apply what works and put it together in a new way, your way.

I will just remind you that there is no right or wrong way, but just two different ways of disciplining, each with its own result.

The only question is which outcome do you want?

If you think of 10 years from now, which values ​​do you hope to give your children?
How would you want them to be as citizens of this world? What are your key words?

They are sure to be some strong words. Save them in your heart.
Let them be your overall goal for your upbringing. Now we will look at how to achieve these goals.

Get together with your partner both physically and mentally. You will be a strong cohesive and coordinated team of educators for the kids. Perhaps they will object, but eventually they will be secure when you stick together as a team.

Talk to your partner about the following:
• How do we want it to be in our family?
• What is important for me when it comes to discipline? And for my partner? And why are these things important?
• What are the values ​​we want to give our children? And what do we believe is the best way to cultivate these values ​​in our everyday life with the kids?
• What is my position? And my partner’s perception of the practical things? (Download possibly my chapter on the topics of disagreements from the front page on my web site).
• Talk about what you think works really well in your respective ways of disciplining? What did each of you have good success with?

When you have completed the above discussion, you have charted some very important milestones for your children’s upbringing.

And here comes the hard part which you must each ask each other:
• What do you think does not work in my disciplining? (Try you best to listen while remaining silent, even if you don’t like what you hear)
• What do you want me to stop doing or do differently?
• Is there something in my children’s behavior which you would like to discuss?

Knowing what is important for each of you can take your educator role to a new and more conscious level, taking that into account and with care for the areas you each have a hard time with.

The goal must be that you will not (quite so often) “trigger” each other.

Have a good day. If you like my post please LIKE The Fusion Family – Spiritual Tools For Your Blended Family Life on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.
Sincerely,

Charlotte

Ps. My husband and I went for a walk alone, every time we disciplined each other’s children. I almost wanted a divorce every time, I was that furious.

 

 

5 tips to survive by when your boyfriend says he does not like your children

– “I do not like your children” – is the worst sentence you as a parent can hear. And especially when it comes from one’s partner. It is almost unbearable. You are ready to leave him/her on the spot!

Our spontaneous reaction will be anger or grief. We are fiercely defensive. We defend our kids (and ourselves) vigiously.

We do what we can to highlight all the fantastic situations where it’s obvious that our children are lovable.

The situation may seem quite unmanageable. How can we possibly continue with your relationship after this message?

How to handle the issue? I want to give you my best guess.

# 1 – Ask your partner
Find the courage to ask your partner what it is he/she dislikes about your child. Avoid going into defensive position (that’s a big challenge.)

Listen. Be on the lookout. Look for clues. Is it in the same situation your partner feel resistance against the child or is it in many different situations. What characteristics “trigger” something in your partner.

Find out what your partner feels is needed, so he/she can get a more positive perception of the child. Ask your partner to be as specific as possible.

What can the child do/say/handle differently?

Based on the answers to the various questions you can work together on a solution that is healthy for you all, realistic and possible to integrate. Remember to notice the smallest, but positive changes along the way.

# 2 – A “hidden” side of your partner
Your partner’s reaction to your children can also be caused by a trait or a side of him/herself that he/she is in denial about. Often these are called our shadow sides.

When he/she for example experiences your children exhibit “greed”, he/she might feel disgust. For him/her it is not okay to be greedy.

There is an English proverb that says it very accurately. And there’s something about it.
What you resist, will persist.”

Again and again we deal with the same type of people and situations.

I think we need to learn from the situation. When we have learned our “lesson” then these confrontations disappear magically.

Maybe your partner was never allowed to be greedy when he/she was a child. Maybe he/she was raised to believe that it is wrong. What did his parents think about greed?

Ask what happens if you “allow” yourselves (and children) to be greedy some times. (We all are in one area or another.)

Try to identify which stories your partner has attached to the word and see if you can find a way, so your partner can have “peace” with the word.

# 3 – Jealousy towards your children
My third bid can be said very briefly. Your partner might be jealous of your children. They “steal” time with you from him/her. And it can be difficult to make up for having to admit it. Therefore, jealousy is projected onto the children.

If you feel that jealousy is the reason for the resistance, then spend a few minutes every day, BEFORE you attend to the kids, by hugging and being present with your partner.

I bet you you’ll have a happy and smiling partner for the rest of the day. You gave him/her exactly what he/she needed (maybe he/she won’t even be conscious of it.)

# 4 – Service level is too high
Are you one of those parents who occasionally forget that children themselves have arms and legs. I did. I catered to my boys without any limits, making my partner angry. My boys seemed spoiled and without any initiative. I did not demand anything from them.

Is it something you can recognize from your own life? If it is, then see it as a welcoming opportunity to turn down the service level. But remember to inform your children that things will have to change from now on. There are new rules.

They will probably complain loudly, but will eventually get used to it. And best of all your partner’s annoyance with your children will hopefully change in proportion, as that will get your family to work as a team.

# 5 – Takes up too much
Honestly – Maybe your partner’s annoyance with your kids is reasonable. Maybe they are completely unreasonable and need to be put in their place. But maybe the children feel that they must compete with your girlfriend about your attention.

If you’ve been alone with them for many years, they had been accustomed to always have your full attention. They need time to get used to that you are no longer their sole “property.” But remember that it’s perfectly ok to tell them that you’re just busy with something else, but that you will return to them as soon as you have time. (It is mportant to remember to get back to them.)

It is a good opportunity to introduce children to the concept of “situational awareness” that they just may find out about what is going on around them. Notice what are the others are doing, before they start to yell for you.

When you show your partner that you give him/her priority status and say no to the kids with respect for both your relationship and them, it might help your partner to remember that habits take time to change. You must have patience. But it is worth being good at noticing the little progress that constantly will show up when you are consistent and loving in your demands of the children.

I hope you have found some new inspiration in my (long) blog.

Have a good day. If you like my post please LIKE The Worlds Biggest Fusion Family on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.

Affectionate,

Charlotte

 

All hell broke loose and destroyed the vacation in the stepfamily

Most of us have done status here after the summer break, evaluating on the vacation with your and maybe our children.

Did we have a good time?
Was the atmosphere pleasant?
Did the family have fun together?

We analyze the vacation and all the situations and conclude that – yes – the beginning of the vacation was certainly good. Great actually! The fusion family members enjoyed themselves, until……..

The all hell broke loose and destroyed the much needed peace and quiet. And challenged all at once everything we had feared would happen. Members of our fusion family could no longer “pretend”. They shouted. They made a scene. It was exactly the situation we had dreaded and now it had happened. We fear the scene had ruined something in our family, perhaps even irreparable. You can probably recognize the situation from your own life. (I can.)

A surprise rebellion from one of the children, a conflict between the role as a fusion mom/father and a child (You’re not my mother/father, so don’t talk to me.)
A heated discussion about how you or your partner handled the situation with the children, one of you doubting the other’s good intentions in relation to the children. (It hurts.)

I want you to stay calm. These conflicts are inevitable, if we as a fusion family grow and develop, they are necessary. They are an essential step toward the feeling of cohesion.

The conflicts are crucial, indeed a really invigorating step in the evolution of your family. Therefore, I challenge you the next time (expect that there will be a next time) to take a moment to let the conflict sink in and stay in the conflict with your head held high. Do not run away or change the subject. It is worth remembering that it is not a permanent condition. The atmosphere will change at some point.

This is a different way for us to think about conflicts, power struggles and loyalty issues that are as explosive minefields to a fusion family. Normally we look at conflict as something we must avoid at any cost.

Instead, try to see conflicts as opportunities for development and as a sign that you now “dare” to be yourself. You do no longer have to “pretend” but now you can dare to demand and make demands on each other.

1st A conflict points out that something must change. Arguments and disagreements come to the surface when a need has not been met, important needs, such as feeling loved and belonging, knowing that you can contribute or knowing what is expected or where the boundaries are.

2nd Expect that there will be fighting in your family along the way. All families of every kind – blended or not – argue, have disagreements, power struggles and difficulties from time to time. In fusion families with conflicting loyalties and the pressure to get it to work this time, these tensions have additional importance in our thoughts and thus providing additional strong emotions. We fear that challenges can be too big to handle – or we pretend that they are not important enough to worry about (because we hope “it” will go away by itself.)

The truth is that the more conflicts we handle, so everyone involved feels seen and heard, we will actually pave the way for a better understanding and deeper relationships.

3rd When conflicts arise, ask yourself two questions before the battle begins. Which needs are not met? Look for who is missing something that seems important to them. It may be that a child needs more structure, attention, or care. Maybe the fusion mom/dad needs clarification of what her/his role is.

You and your partner may need more time together and focus than you have now.

So when the going gets tough, listen to your heart. Try to remember that any dispute handled is a step towards creating a loving and permanent fusion family.

Disagreements and conflicts in your family can make room for your relationships to grow and mature. When you listen to each other with compassion and make changes or adjustments it allows all members of your family to get what they really need.

Fusion families can be loving, permanent families in spite of conflicting loyalties and misunderstanding.

If you like my post please LIKE The Worlds Biggest Fusion Family on FACEBOOK and/or subscribe to my newsletter.
Love,

Charlotte

 

Are you afraid that your boyfriend doesn’t like my children? KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THESE THOUGHTS

Today I want to share a part of my own story with you.

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When I got to know my current husband, I started noticing my thoughts about my boys and my relationship with them.I tried to envision us through my husband’s eyes. Imagined what he thought about us. And what I wanted him to think about us.

Did he see that I was a good mother?
Did he see how loving and fun my boys were?
Did he see HOW loveable they were?
Did he see how charming they were?
Did he see how well behaved they were?

These ideas were completely new to me. In my relationship with the boys’ father I never thought about whether he liked our sons. I took it for granted that he did. That he loved them unconditionally, like I did. I was never in doubt. And I never questioned myself in my role as mother or my boys’ amiability. But I did now. It scared me. I suddenly felt less confident in my role as a mother. I was also unsure whether my boys were just as charming in my boyfriend’s eyes, as in mine.

These thoughts made me do strange things.

I began to compare my boys with my husband’s children
I began to run an internal point system (on the children’s behavior and performance, etc.)
I began to notice who was most popular with the kids (was is my husband or myself)

Blended family - divorced family

To this ‘competition’ I had started (which I knew the points system to) I supplemented by telling my boys what to say to my husband and when.

I would for instance find myself telling to Jonas not to bother Jégwan right when he got home from work, but let him have some time to himself, otherwise Jégwan might get annoyed at him. I also reminded Jonas thank him for the lovely lunch with the cute hard-boiled egg (decorated with both a sad and a happy face) and that he should not give Jégwan SO many details about his day, because it would just bore him.

How I continued in that manner. I tried to constantly stay abreast of what I anticipated would happen in any given moment.
I tried to compensate for something I thought would happen. Or I pointed out when my boys had done something good that would serve as concrete evidence that they were loveable.

I furnished compelling evidence to my husband: My kids are amazing, so therefore you must like them. And he did like them. He was sweet to calm me when I was too pushy, but I was not convinced, so I continued until the day where we both noticed that Jonas had become uncomfortable around Jégwan. He glanced nervously at me when saying something to Jégwan (just to decode my expression.)

I was shocked, how could that have happened! I had done everything I could to help the two to converge towards each other…. I thought.

Instead, the opposite was happening. I had with my constant admonitions made Jégwan into something scary. An adult one should be careful and be cautious about saying anything or require anything of. I had signaled to the children that they could not just react spontaneously in a situation with Jégwan.

I had alienated my husband from my son. It made me sad. That was not been my intention.

What should I do now?

Jégwan and I had a long talk and we ended up with the following conclusion:

• I had to stop telling my children how they should act towards my husband. They should be able to react spontaneously and Jégwan would let them know, if he disagreed.
• I had to train myself to trust that he meant it when he said he liked my children.
• My husband had to remember to praise my boys if they deserved it. (I loved it.)
• I had to practice letting my husband discipline my kids, if needed. (I hated it.)
• I had to practice not to come rushing through the house to rescue my children from my husband, but instead to trust that he wanted the best for my boys.
• I had to practice NOT to handle conflicts in advance but as they arose, though I thought conflicts were dangerous and should be avoided.

It took me a year and a half to be at peace with this and feel comfortable letting Jégwan discipline my boys (and I his children), but in hindsight I can see that for us it was the only feasible way to live in a mutually respectful family where everyone can respond freely and naturally when a situation arises.

How has it been/or is it for you? Are you afraid that your partner doesn’t like your kids?

You are welcome to write a comment here.

 

 

VACATION TIME! What If You Don’t Like Your Stepkids?

It’s vacation time, but what do you do, if you do not like your partner’s children?

The summer vacation is approaching and you feel the unrest and resistance grow. You are uneasy about spending the summer vacation with your partner’s children.

Fact is that you do not like them and would rather not spend your vacation time with them.

You are in love with your boyfriend/girlfriend, but do not feel any affection towards his/her kids.

Fact is that children are part of the package in many cases. They are not a conscious option, but they are part of the package, which means that there are other rules that apply here.

Do not expect miracles in terms of mutual feelings, you and your fusion kids “should” have towards each other. Understand and accept that it will take time and effort to get the relationship with the children to work, so it will be bearable for you all.

You should expect this to be a long process. But be ready to show willingness to take responsibility and care of the children, even though there is no “great love” between you.

You can choose to view the upcoming summer vacation as a source for your personal development. You can practice expanding your limits.

Charlotte Egemar Kaaber


Let it be your goal to spend the summer without an eternal inner resistance to the kids. Anger and irritation are like drinking poison and expecting the other die. I think it’s worth remembering that it would just drain your energy.

I would recommend that you try to be introspective in order to find the real source from which your irritation stems.

YOU CAN START BY ASKING YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
• Does your boyfriend/girlfriend demand respect from the children also in regards to their behavior towards you and does he/she back you up properly?
• Are you jealous? Do the children take too much time/room? Do you feel neglected?
• Are you angry at yourself that you are not doing well enough?
• Do you not meet your own expectations of yourself in the given situation?
• Is there anything in their upbringing, which can cause children’s annoying behavior? And it is something that can be changed?
• Are the children trying to achieve something specific with their behavior?
• Are the kids jealous of you?

If you answer the questions above honestly (even if you are embarrassed) you can take responsibility and do something about it. Take responsibility instead of pointing fingers, and gently explain to your boyfriend/girlfriend how you feel and what you need from him/her, so that your experience with the children will be more pleasant.

Blended family - divorced family


INVEST IN YOUR STEPCHILD
Your relationship with the child may benefit from taking a small trip together and be able to really experience the child’s personality beyond the already established role in the blended family. The change of finding out whether it is the child’s role or the child’s perception of his/her role in the family, which is why you object, is possible.

If your impression of the child is surprising and more positive, you may find it easier to identify the source of your resistance. By deliberately changing the facts/things that could move your relationship in the positive direction, you have both helped the child to be more comfortable in his/her role in the family and in his/her relationship with you. If the child is behaving differently than usual, you will also react differently than usual. New input creates new output.

SAMHØRIGHED I SAMMENBRAGTE FAMILIER


WHAT IF THE KIDS ARE REALLY ANNOYING DUE TO LOCK OF DISCIPLINE?
It is quite natural that you become irritated or angry at your boyfriend/girlfriend’s children. Do not blame yourself, and if it is not an isolated case, but an increasing irritation, you have to do something about it, you need to discuss it with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

If you act furiously and show your dismay over their children’s behavior your boyfriend/ girlfriend will most likely immediately take the children’s side.

You get nothing out of it and it only creates distance between the two of you. Wait till you calm down and then talk about it later on in a solution-oriented and welcoming tone.

It is worth remembering that the only thing your boyfriend/girlfriend wants you to like his/her children.

It is a good idea when you initiate the difficult conversations to mention something positive about the children. Something they have done or said that you like.
This provides a better foundation for addressing the difficult conversation about what you want changed.

It is not the easiest conversation to have, but it can be done, if you remember to stay on impartial and speak from the heart and not from anger.

 

Make The Joint Party With Your Ex A Success

I had my article from a danish newpaper translated for your inspiration.

You can use my principles with any joint party you have to throw with your ex’.

Here we go:
The dreaded confirmation or birthday party with yours, mine and our children and all the exes need not be a source of quarrels and tears. The Fusion Family Coach Charlotte Egemar Kaaber gives tips for how the big party can be a success in spite of family relations.

Kaaber wrote the book “The Fusion Family – How to succeed with your blended family” released in the U.S. in April 2011.

Quarrels, tears, compromise, jealousy and grief are part of reality in many divorced families when the teenager has his/her confirmation. And if the parents have formed new families, it is even more difficult to succeed. But it can be done.

– “It requires all adults around the child to consciously work on practicing inclusiveness, challenge the negative feelings towards the exes and his/her new family and decide that you will make an effort to have a good party despite all complications” says Charlotte Egemar Kaaber, continuing:

– “I’m not saying that it is easy. But I say that it is feasible. ”

In her book Kaaber establishes six game rules for the life of a successful blended family, and the same rules apply to a successful family union:

Clean up in our ‘baggage’
Define a goal
Be aware
Reconcile expectations
Know the pitfalls
Accept that things are not optimal

These rules must then be clarified and applied in the planning of a joint confirmation celebration, and the other set of parent must agree to collaborate. Not an easy task.

One or two parties?
By having one party with all relatives included, the child will not miss out on having the other parent present – according to Charlotte Egemar Kaaber – this is preferable. But if cooperation with the other parent is unattainable, you should clarify whether it is possible to bury the hatchet – if nothing else, before and during the confirmation party. Otherwise, the bad vibrations destroy the day for the child, and then it would be better to celebrate the confirmation twice by having two parties.

– “Often we use so much energy complaining, being angry, hurting or worse by being at ‘war’ with the exes. Difficult divorces can create violent emotions and drain our energy. And before you know it you only focus on the ‘danger’ of a joint confirmation celebration, “says Charlotte Egemar Kaaber.

Whatever the underlying cause of resistance to a joint celebration is, the thoughts and speculation about the horror of the joint arrangement will in most cases be much worse than in reality. To engage constructively with your opponent, you can ask yourself these questions:

● What am I deep down afraid of?
● What is the worst that can happen? And how can I minimize the risk of it happening?
● What is the best thing that could happen?
● How will I feel afterwards IF I were able to have a joint party?

Should the fusion parent participate?
Internally in the blended family, the fusion parent should of course help planning the party for his/her fusion child together with the parent. But whether the fusion parent can participate externally along with the biological parents depends on the ex’s reaction and also by how many years the fusion parent has been a part of the child’s life. What will seem most natural?

– “Basically I think the parent should suggest to the ex that all both set of parents should participate. If carried out, it may be a contributing factor to achieve a good relationship. It can break down some frightening images, you may have of each other. Furthermore the fusion parent’s role in the planning of the event may end up ensuring that the parents will succeed, “says Charlotte Egemar Kaaber and adds:

– “If it causes great trouble that the fusion parent participates in the planning, I do not think it is a struggle that is worth having. But the fusion parent should of course be at the party together with the biological parents. ”

The rules for the party
If you decide that you will cooperate in order to have a great party for your child, you should establish some ground rules. Do not expect that you can handle things as they come, but be aware that you are entering dangerous ground and therefore should take your precautions:

– Talk about what you will do to make the time before the party go smoothly so that the party will be a success
– Define parameters for problematic situations you will respond to
– Stay focused if the good mood changes
– Plan what you are doing, if the cooperation stops (eg. time out for a week)
– Clarify the details of the party, number of guests, budget, wine, dessert, cake table, etc.)
– Clarify who does what and when
– Be ready to compromise
– Accept that the festivities will not be exactly as you plan
– Remember that it is the child’s guests – all of them, so be financially generous regarding who should pay for the guests.

During the party
On the very day it is also good to be mentally prepared, so that you have a few tools ready in case the situation with the ex suddenly becomes difficult.

You must be prepared that both you and your ex will risk regressing back to your old roles forwards each other pushing the same old buttons. It is just as important to remember that your reactions to your ex often are an accumulation of previous and similar situations and feelings and not the current situation. So if you detect anger or irritation glooming, you can:

• Keep focused on your breathing for a few minutes, it removes the focus from your thoughts
• Take some time out by going the bathroom for a breather
• Ask yourself these questions: What is happening in reality? What are the facts here?
• Try to change focus
• Decide to leave your old role towards the ex behind and see things from the outside
• Rejoice in your own mind that you are no longer with your ex
• Immerse yourself in the lovely sight of the wonderful child

If anything – despite good planning – exceeds your control, you must consult your ex. But remember to stay neutral and don’t show anger. Be conscious not to make a big deal out of it and explain to your ex how you feel. If it is outside your influence to change what happened or was said let it go. Just explain how you feel and let it be. Then you have done your part and shown your limits, that’s all there is to it.

It is worth reminding yourself that you are not in any life threatening danger, although it might feel that way, but it is the THOUGHTS that create these violent emotions. Have positive images ready in your mind which makes you happy until the anger dissipates.

The child will no doubt appreciate that parents and fusion parents have made an effort to give him or her a good and joyous celebration.