Friday, 28 July 2017

Top Tips for Becoming a Family

Learning to be a 'family' can be difficult when you come into an already established family unit. Feeling like an outsider can be a common issue, and might make you feel like giving up. The first few years are especially difficult as you are establishing bonds, boundaries and begin to get to grips with what your 'role' is. Everyone's different, and so your role will be too. Unfortunately that means its very difficult for anyone to guide you and help you know where you fit in.

However, there are a few simple things you can do as a new that will help you all feel like your part of the same little family. Give these a try, and with time they should encourage a feeling of closeness between you all.

Did you have a nickname growing up? I had several and they have stayed with me. Both our children (step  & bio)  have nicknames and we also have pet names for one another. Those names are unique to us and our family and can be a great way to develop closeness (make sure they are kind not derogatory- I don't recommend 'idiot' or 'stupid pants')

Each memory is a foundation for your relationship with your step kids. Don't worry, they won't (and can't possibly) all be positive. Your both working out which buttons not press and where you stand with one another. But still go out and make memories. Go the beach, the park, for days out. Play with paint, have dinners together, watch movies. Little insignificant things. In a years time you'll be able to say "Do you remember when we watched that film?" The film might have ended in a row, or tears or a strop, but you won't necessarily remember that bit. And even if you do, you'll probably look at it very differently in a years time (it might even be funny!) 

Do you get up every morning and always have cornflakes at the table? Or do you give the children their breakfast and head upstairs to get dressed? Do you always drink a cuppa in front of the telly before your up for chatting? These things sound simple but routine will make everyone feel more like they belong. It may take time to establish though and be aware it may need to be adjusted, so don't feel bad if its not an over night job. 

Have Your Own Traditions 
Establish your own traditions throughout the year. That might something as simple as you always have a special ice cream sundae when its someones birthdays, or always have lamb when its Easter and invite over your neighbours for a meal. It could be more elaborate obviously, like you always go on holiday at Christmas. The first time might not be as successful as you planned, but repeating (and perfecting) traditions over time makes them more familiar and therefore more comforting. Even if your step children belittle them or make them sound rubbish, keep going. Traditions are a corner stone of each family. Try and think of some you had in your own family. 

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