The Most Valuable Tool for Blended Families
If I was asked the most valuable tool in any family and especially a family that is blending to become one-family that would be family meetings.
This tool is the most powerful and useful secret to blending a family into one-family. It is not a new invention and it is commonly used. However, if the valuableness of it is underestimated, it will be underused. If underused, the process of building a family bond would be like building a house with straw. It can be done, but it will not take much for it to blow away and the house has to be built back up.
When our family uses family meetings, the setting up of the tool can take some organization, some interruptions in a flow that may already be in process elsewhere, a loosening of resistance, proper placement, and consistent usage to avoid the family meetings from evaporating into thin air. Patience is a requirement. If used properly, becoming one-family is inevitable. The only way family meetings can be improperly used is by not using it.
When I use this tool of family meetings, I make sure it is used in the same part of the home each time. I also make sure that anyone in the home is a part of it because it strengthens the structure of the family. I also make sure that everyone knows that, regardless of the extent of their involvement, their part is invaluable by just being a part of the family.
Each time I have used family meetings and do not allow the size of the issue decide whether I use the tool or not (which is so easy to do because set up takes a little work,) it builds a little layer of bonding to everyone involved. It builds on experiences with one another. It is not always a good experience, but it creates a memory of being together through good and bad.