How to Handle a Big Difference in the Ages of the Children and be Together

You Guys Seriously.jpg

Words spoken and yelled over and over and over again:

“You guys cannot say that in front of your little brother!”

“You guys cannot play that video game in front of your little brother.”

“You guys are playing too rough, you cannot wrestle with him the same way you do with each other and your friends.”

“You guys, you know we cannot watch that movie for family movie night, it is not appropriate for your little brother.”

“Julian, you cannot do that with your siblings, or that , or that, or that, or that, or that or that; those things are more appropriate for when you are older and some of the things I would be happy if you would never do.”

The  “arghhhhhhhh” moment when a path has to be chosen:

The dilemma is a large span between the ages and stages of your children and them co-existing in one home with a varying degree of suitable content allowed around one another. There is the age of playing with little action figures sprawled out on the floor and the teenage time when teenagers are testing boundaries and entering to an adultish world. Here are the choices to rectify much of the angst in this scenario.

  1. Separate and force individual hibernation locked away in a personalized, homogenous environment.
  2.  Live together as a family and tell your youngest, “I know that you do not know what certain things mean when your brothers and sisters say something and then laughs,  but you have to trust that it is not appropriate and please do not repeat these things. Otherwise, we have to separate and do separate things.  Also tell the older children, that no one gets left behind and they need to compromise so that the younger ones will not be left out of activities. 

This is how I chose my path: 

I decided that separating them was not an option because it was not a habit that I wanted them to learn.  How could I keep them a part at a younger age and then expect that they would naturally come together when they were older and all activities were age appropriate? It does not work that way. Their habits now will feed their future quite naturally and any desired changes will have to be re-taught and no one has time for that.

The Result:

The outcome was that they worked it out amongst themselves. In addition to taking some personal time to themselves, they play together.  The eldest teach the youngest basketball moves, how to pass a football and wrestle in the grass until they are tired or someone gets hurt. They play Capture the Flag, they jump on the trampoline, they swim together and they go places together. They have fun together because they had to figure out a way to do that. The alternative was not an option primarily because none of them wanted it.

In regard to my part, fear would have created separate worlds for them.

Courage and desire for what I wanted in their relationship,in the long run, provided the direction of decision making.

Yes, Julian has seen and heard things that my eldest would never have been exposed to.  However, exposure to his entire family at all ages took priority.  Sometimes I still worry that he will repeat something out of context to a teacher, a friend or someone else; but he hasn’t yet. I think he understands enough to never jeopardize the privilege of privileged information.  Besides that he is probably too busy telling his friends how his knee got so scrapped up over the weekend or showing them the best way to throw a football.

Family Lesson # too many to count:

Teach your children today what you want their relationship to be with each other in the future and provide the environment so they can practice it.  They need to hear it and feel it.

Love, Ivy L.

Ground, Dylan, Julian in that order

Ground, Dylan, Julian in that order

Comic Relief! A New Page on Blendedways

We all need comic relief.  With the help of all of the artists in my family  along with our family antics, I would like to present to you the very first CaptonComic.  I will be bold and say that many of you will relate to these family scenarios, blended or not.

With Love, Ivy L.

Making Lunch

Making Lunch

Love Blending Your Family

Love Blending Your Family

Love Blending Your Family

I know that I have written about some hardships about blending a family; but I would like to share something very exciting that I have not mentioned, as I have been focused on some of the difficulties of blending a family because they need to be addressed. However, If I could scream this one thing from the mountaintops, I would!

Being a part of a blended family is a blast!  It really is.  Yes, it has its challenges but everything does.  You can make the worst of it or, like anything else, you can make the best of it.  I chose to make the best of it and I was successful, my family is a success. It takes work and dedication but the love and respect in a blended family can be stronger than a family that shares biology.  The reason is because biology mandates it and in a blended family, every morsel of love and respect has to be earned.

Share with me and other readers your challenges and successes of being in a blended family.  Let’s make every blended family successful because being a part of a family that encompasses many homes, many personalities and many relatives is a party that does not have to go bad.  If you really want things to work out, it will be the best party of your life!

Love,

Ivy L.

A Sad Habit That Needs To Be Broken

Life is an adventure that needs exploration.

Life is an adventure that needs exploration.

A Sad Habit That Needs To Be Broken

When Rocky was about 7 years old he was always sad in our home.  I don’t know where else he was sad but I was obviously concerned about his constant sadness when he was with us.  It occurred to me one day, after many approaches of trying to make him happy that Rocky was in a bad habit.  He had been sad for so long that he did not even know why he was sad.  So I did what, possibly, no other mother would do.  I, lovingly, put Rocky in a time out.  I told him that he was very loved and he needed to go to his room and when he could find some happiness he could come out and be with the family.

Rocky was out of his room within 10 minutes, at the most.  This sadness was no longer attached to him because I do not know why.  It just was not.  Our lives started to fill with more truth and love because he threw out the habit of sadness and became himself.

This is Rocky imitating who is was 10 years ago  and who he is now.  He contributed to these pictures because he remembers that day fondly and we have a blast together.  I Love you Rocky!  Love, Mom

Sad Rocky

Sad Rocky

 

Happy Rocky

Happy Rocky

Best Wishes to All – Ivy L.

Please send your unusual approaches that made life better for your family. And SHARE, if you think someone else has more ideas or they may like this article.

 

 

This post is a quick version of a real life experience

It seems that everyone has limited time while the the thirst for spirited information is enormous. Hence, we are in the age of images, few sentences and quick videos as our fingers are in a tactical position ready to swipe, push or text. So, how do I expect anyone to read a 500 to a 1000 word blog when I myself live in the same environment ready to move from one piece of information to another expecting to be entertained as a break in a furious paced life? I have decided to risk detailed context for abbreviated versions of real life experiences. I always welcome comments and questions.

Do Something

Do Something.jpg

 

Do Something 

– Every child is our responsibility-

 “The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.” 

-Mother Teresa-

Kiva – A great initiative to help people help themselves

Feeding America

International Rescue League

St Jude Hospital for Children Home Page

List of Charities Rated by Better Business Bureau

Forbes List of Largest Charities

 

 

Perspective and Missing Those You Love in a Blended Family

My husband and I are Julian’s only parents. Our other five children have their other parents from prior marriages. I have written in the past about the child who is born into an already blended family.  Feelings of loneliness is likely for the only child of these circumstances.  One day the siblings are there; one day they are not. There is a continuous wave of familial change. It is difficult when the days apart are two or three days a week, but when college comes into the equation, the feelings are difficult to alleviate.

Julian’s oldest brother, Cove, is currently in college.  The sadness that comes from the separateness is not easily comforted and it is compounded by the anticipation of future siblings’ plans to leave for college. Julian is so in-tuned to his life that he can tell you exactly how old he will be when each of his siblings will depart to pursue their education. It is challenging to witness his suffering. The only way I knew to help was to teach this passionate child about perspective.

In Judaism, there is something called a mitzvah.  A mitzvah is a good deed.  Whenever the children have encountered a hardship at the hands of another, I have encouraged a mindset to think of the action as a mitzvah.  When the children inquire as to how someone causing some harm to them is a mitzvah, I have explained that it is an opportunity for them to learn through experience to not imitate that same behavior because it causes pain to others. In addition, it is also a time to reflect on what led to the event to learn whatever they can to have inner growth. This perspective is about taking what you can from a situation and learning from it, as opposed to feeling victimized or vengeful.

What does this have to do with Julian and his siblings slow departure to college?  It is about perspective. It is the way it is viewed and what you can take from the situation.

This is how I explained it to Julian:

Missing someone is a blessing. Julian misses Cove because he loves him very much and has a deep connection with him and the feeling is mutual between the two of them. To know love is a gift. Loving someone and knowing the feeling of being loved is the ultimate gift in life; the alternative can truly cause a lonely existence.  I told Julian that every time he feels a sadness from missing his big brother he needs to say these words: “ I miss Cove, thank goodness.” This is a way for Julian to view the love side of missing someone, otherwise the sadness can get in the way of the full picture. Remembering why you miss someone is the time to remind yourself that you miss someone because there is an enormous gift attached to the story.

I certainly do not undermine Julian’s feeling of missing Cove or his pending distraught of  future departures. It is perfectly understandable. I, too, miss Cove very much and when Rocky and Summer leave this coming fall for school, Julian and I will deeply miss them…thank goodness.

Rocky, Summer and Cove on College Campus 2013

Rocky, Summer and Cove on College Campus 2013

Hopscotch and the Blended Family …. Today’s Way to Get Through the Day

Try to pat your head and rub your belly in a circular motion at the same time, then add a good game of hopscotch without touching the lines.  When you can do that perfectly, then you can get upset with yourself for not being able to get through a blended family day with perfect grace.

Which way is up?

Which way is up?

Love,

Ivy L.