The 10 Essentials in Family Blending
We do not find ourselves in a blended family based on youthful dreams, training and a dedication to fulfill our desires. We can find ourselves in a dream job under those circumstances, but finding your way through a blended family and becoming the navigator of such a ship can be an overwhelming experience where no rule books apply. It is a hit the road running experience that will test every morsel of patience, sanity and ego bashing tendencies.
However, if an ad could be placed in regard to the search for the CEO of a blended family, there are qualifications for which to search. Ironically the foundation of this list was incorporated in a life coach article and it could easily be applied to the setting of family and growth. When rearranged with that in mind, this is the exact qualifications needed for all involved in blending a family.
1) A deep desire to help yourself and others to grow
The certainty is that there will be change. The hope is that the change is for the better and that everyone grows from the experience of living in a blended family. For there to be any chance of positive growth, there has to be a deep desire to see the family flourish as a whole and a dedication toward each individual also having an opportunity to grow.
2) Self awareness
You need to have an idea of who you are in all aspects of your life. Know your strengths and work from those. Know your weakness and build from there. If your strength is problem solving, then use that strength to build others up and help them grow. If your weakness is patience, know when to leave a situation that can be addressed at a later time when you have had time to discover the best way to handle it.
3) Integrity and high personal standards
Always hold onto those things that you know to be true in regard to what brings the most good to a situation. If you have no tolerance for dishonesty, do not succumb to excepting it just because it may be easier to not deal with a situation. If you believe that honesty is the most important issue, do not back away from a belief structure that has proven to be valuable in achieving growth. Even if it is hard to contend with, you must have the strength to not back away from your personal standards and the integrity with which it comes.
Know your surroundings. Know your families surroundings. Know the inner surroundings, as well. Feel and look for disturbances and calmness. Contend with the former and celebrate the later.
5) Curiousness and inquisitiveness
Being curious and inquisitive is not to be considered as “nosey.” Although some things are indeed private those things should be the exception to the rule. By being perceptive, you should become curious and inquisitive. Many times your instinct will be to follow through with the feelings of being tired or using the incorrect policy of minding your own business. These excuses do not allow a family to grow together, as a team. Actually, it opens up an opportunity for everyone to be on their own which is not ideal in trying to have a family form a bond as one family. Family is now your business and each member of the family should take an interest in one another, as much as possible. Do not confuse allowing someone to have their space a defense against listening to your instincts that something needs to be addressed and settled.
6) Highest regard, respect and concern for others
Although there are age differences and their is an hierarchy that comes with most families, it is important that each person feel as though they are an important part of the family and their input is valuable at some level, taking into consideration the role they have played in the family dynamics. Everyone needs to feel appreciated and listened to. Having concern about how others are feeling opens up this line of communication.
7) Excellent people skills
It is a basic and fundamental requirement in most jobs and having this skill as the navigator of a blending family is a necessity. There has to be someone in the family with excellent people skills in terms of how to communicate and motivate for the better. One parent may be better at homework communication and another may be better at discipline. Decide who is best to handle what situations that come up. Do not feel uncomfortable allowing the older children help the younger ones. If there is only one parent that has the skill, than make sure that person has, at the very least, the emotional support so they do not feel as though they are all alone.
8) Excellent communication and listening skills
These two items come together. It is important to really hear what someone is saying and not become lost in thought, as to how to respond. Really try to internalize and understand from where the other person is coming. If necessary, take a few moments after listening and agree to meet in an few minutes so you can gather your thoughts. This may assist in any emotional response that does not carry a positive direction and the communication back can come with thought after reflection. It may cause a delay in communication, however; a conversation impeded by a lack of listening or emotional forthright can make the process for more extended than necessary and create bad feelings. It is never too late to start the process of rationalizing a conversation that has gone awry.
9) Objectivity and being non-judgmental
As hard as it may be, try to stay objective before coming to a personal conclusion. You may discover that one little thing will change your opinion in the slightest bit allowing the person you are talking to an opportunity to feel you are really listening to what they are saying which is a tremendous lead into future sharing.
10) Quest for learning
Realizing that some of your greatest insights can come from the places you least expect it, by having a continuous quest for learning you can discover a way to grow and in turn be a leader in helping others in the family to also grow.
Basically, being in any family situation requires you to grow and being a part of a blended family does not elude this requirement. In life, you either shrink or you grow because stagnation is a shrinking process on pause. If you do not grow and others in the family do, it does not make anyone feel good, especially the family member who was challenged by the process. Please keep in mind that growing in different directions is not the same as shrinking. It may be easier to conclude there is a lack of growth if someone is growing in a different direction because everyone going in the same direction may seem as though there is a stronger unity. However, allowing others to grow and also move in another direction is a form of acceptance and that is also a part of growing. In a strange way, that acceptance is also a bond. And the whole thing is about creating a bond in a family that came together to be one family.