Jan 11

8/1 Conflict Solutions with Blended Families

Trying to unite two families, often torn by grief, deeper  tensions or brokenness can be a huge area for conflicts. Taking two groups of people and expecting peace and quiet is truly unrealistic. 

Therefore, blended families have special issues that require different skills of better communication, working on past issues and bringing hope for the any children involved. 

However with families, there are a few different resolution principles than we would apply to strangers, or to casual acquaintances.  The check out girl doesn’t need to hear our grievances if they don’t apply to her nor the dentist to hear our declaration of independence from family ties.

Many of these resolution principles are set out when we talk about the Family of Origin differences.  Entering into a blended family that is overly-flexible or families that have rigid standards are a challenge when it comes to learning healthy conflict skills. 

 Learning to separate from the ‘old’ family member’s opinions and judgements might take years for some people.  Others use the ‘If they don’t like me, just leave and never come back’ attitude.  There must be some healthy guidelines for separation and distance yet with grace and compassion for those in our family who really do love us. 

What happens to Grandparents when their whole world collapses and the new blended family ‘…just isn’t the same’.

Caroline’s story:  Mother remarried when Caroline was 8 years old, a shock to the whole family to say the least.  A new step-dad, a new home and other siblings to now compete for Mother’s very lacking attention.  To add to her woes, her new step-sisters were popular at school and all had ‘beautiful bods’. 

Caroline was lost and withdrew, causing as little trouble as possible.  ‘Maybe if I’m good, they willl like me?’ She told herself to just be invisible or always helpful, good and never complain.  What issues do yout think these issues brought into Caroline’s young life?  How much better if the whole blended family could have learned to adjust and resolve their conflicts in healthy ways?

Then facing holidays for Blended Families?  For many people, another battlefield of disagreement and conflict.  Guidelines here would benefit all those struggling to hold their independence, or move in healthy direction with those who flaunt their biases or hostilities.  Family celebrations, family weddings and family events – how do you keep the peace without being a rescuer?

Take the time to read those the posts in this category and see if you can add your wisdom in the comments section,

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

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