11 tips on how to blend a family (without emotionally scarring your kids)

December 8, 2015 No Comments

11 tips on how to blend a family (without emotionally scarring your kids)

December 8, 2015 No Comments

About a week ago, Hot Moms Club did a post on Tori Spelling’s Christmas card and how she’s receiving criticism on social media for not including her step-son, Jack, 16.tori spelling christmas card hot moms
This struck a chord.
I can’t say that I agree with the criticism being directed at her – isn’t Dean to blame? I can tell you that I personally grew up being treated like a second class child whenever I was with my dad’s “new family” (my step-mother who had never been married before, and my half brother twelve years my junior). The feeling of being an outcast in my own father’s house every time I visited him was emotionally damaging and I’m sickened when I see it happening to other kids – especially after decades of what should have been the learning curve for society to figure out the right and wrong ways to blend a family.
We can and must do better.
Every family has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses based on personalities and circumstances, but it is possible to blend a family successfully. These tips aren’t complicated and are worth taking to heart. There’s an ugliness spectrum for divorce; where you and your family end up on that spectrum is up to you.

1) The family photo (including the Christmas card)

There are two parts to this one…First, don’t be an ass hole and hang “family photos” all over your house that clearly exclude one or more of your children/step-children. This was my life every time I visited my dad’s house. Literally not one shred of photographic evidence that I existed anywhere in view. It’s hard enough to be a child from divorce – you don’t need it rubbed in your face that your mom/dad has a new family. Be considerate of your kids’ feelings. Second, when you find yourself in a moment where family photos are being taken, don’t exclude your “other kids” from the photo. One time at a cousin’s wedding, my step-mother got upset that my older brother and I were in the photo with her, my dad and half-brother and insisted on a second photo being taken of just the three of them…psycho. If your new spouse shows any sign of wanting you to disassociate yourself from your “other kids,” run the other direction. If you really want to take a picture with your “new family” (totally understandable), make sure to take an equal amount of photos with only your “other kids” to even it out.

2) Family vacation

It’s a family vacation; therefore all family members should be included, right? My brother and I went on little vacations every summer with my Dad, until he got married to his third wife and had another child. Once my half brother was born, my older brother and I were never included on family trips during the summer – they would get their trip done before we arrived for our visitation. It felt like we were being gradually written out as his children. If you insist on a family vacation that does not include your “other kids,” you need to make sure you plan a second one that does not include your new spouse and new child/children to make it fair.

3) Celebrate birthdays equally

All birthdays should be created equal; equal attention, equal gifts. My dad would forget to even just call me on my birthday, but buy my half brother gifts that cost $100+ dollars and do a birthday celebration. Also, DO NOT have your new spouse buy birthday gifts for your other kids (they will know) unless it’s in conjunction with something else you got them.

4) Don’t talk shit about your ex in front of your kids

Even the snide remarks. Just don’t do it. Lock it up. Resist the urge. Be a grown up.

5) Don’t fight with your ex in front of your kids

They probably had to witness enough of that before the divorce. Have the courtesy to fight in private post divorce.

6) Verbal reassurance

Give your kids verbal reassurance on a ridiculous level. Tell them you love them more than anything and that the love is unconditional. Just know that whatever verbal reassurance you give your kids, it must be accompanied by actions; otherwise your words are meaningless.

7) Have empathy

Strive to empathize. Play the “what if” game in your head and try to imagine how you might feel in your child’s shoes. Be so committed to the game that you actually start feeling the feelings.

8) Force therapy

Literally force your kids to go to therapy. When I was a kid, my mom forced me and it was probably the best thing she ever did for me. I told her I would refuse to speak to the therapist (as kids will often say), and her response was “Fine. You can just sit there silent for an hour every week.” I eventually cracked and the therapy benefited me.

9) Have one-on-one time with all of your kids

This is the one thing on this list my dad didn’t fail at, so at least he sort of tried a little. When your “other kids” stay with you, make sure you spend alone time with each of them. They might not like your new spouse and shouldn’t be forced to constantly be with them. Plus, alone time is just good for relationship building.

10) Be there for the milestones

Make sure you’re there for ALL of your kids’ milestones.

11) Spend money equally

Whether it’s cars, education, or whatever else. Don’t spend more on one kid than the other. Unless it’s a girl vs. boy thing because everyone knows girls are more expensive haha.

It’s important to remember that divorcing your spouse doesn’t mean you need to divorce your children. I know it’s probably hard to co-parent in a divorce scenario, but that’s not the kids’ fault; it’s yours for marrying the wrong person. Your number one priority should be to reduce and ease the affect the divorce has on your child/children’s lives. Don’t make your kids pay for your mistakes in life.
Did you grow up in a blended family? What tips would you give divorced parents today?
Photo via Hot Moms Club


All posts

No Comments

  • SoulFoodMomma December 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Great advice, I’m a Mother in a blended family, and it’s really rough, however we are making it thru. Thanks for the advice

  • Leave a Reply

    About Me

    About Me


    Hi! I’m Bethany and I live in Sacramento, CA with my husband and two little boys. Most of the topics you’ll see on here involve motherhood, fashion, recipes, wine, beauty and relationships – all the things that make my world go ‘round. Thanks for stopping by! Read More



    Popular Topics


    • Had the best Sunday celebrating the birthday twins 👯 🎂 Today @ktrec and tomorrow, @laurenerickson1027. I’m sure glad these two babes were born 34 years ago...these girls are my sunshine on a cloudy day ❤️ ⛅️ swipe for some major throwbacks ➡️
    • Fridays are for flashbacks, so here I am 26 years young after I had just said my vows to the love of my life @ryancurtismitchell. My bouquet was so heavy, my forearms were sore for days afterwards 💐🏋🏻‍♀️😂
    • “The days are long but the years are short”
Today I’ve been reflecting a little bit on time as we approach the year 2019; just one year shy of the year 2020, which kind of boggles my mind when I sit and really think about it. 💫
How has it really been that long? I had Porter in 2013 when I was 28 years old and in so many ways it feels like yesterday. How am I in my mid thirties already? How was college graduation literally 11.5 years ago? How is it that Ryan and I have been together for 10 years and married for 6? 💫
My 92 year old grandmother often tells me she doesn’t feel 92 and I’m really starting to understand. I guess all we can do in this life is appreciate every moment because in a blink of an eye, we will wonder how that said moment was so long ago. 💫
This also makes me think about how life is too short to spend time with negative people or drink bad wine. And also I need to get some Botox. 😂🍷💉
    • I graduated from high school in 2003, so I vividly remember the days of film/photo albums. As digital cameras and social media took over, printing photos became kind of a rare thing for me to do. I’ve had so many scares where I think digital photos have been lost forever and I personally know people who have tragically lost precious baby/wedding photos 😭. So when I got the opportunity to partner up with @google using Google Photos, I was intrigued! On my phone and within literally FIVE minutes, I was able to create this album of our trip to Maui from over the summer. It was the easiest thing ever using the Google Photos app, cost about $20, and they have free standard shipping until 12/12! This album has already been a coffee table conversation piece and my kids have been fondly reminiscing our trip 😍. My new normal is definitely to have Google Photo albums! These are also awesome Christmas gifts 🎁🤩#googlephotos #photobooks #googlepartner
    • Christmas magic through their eyes ✨🎄🎅🏻
    • Yesterday we had our first parent-teacher conference for TK and it turned out to be much more thorough than I would have imagined. It was so amazing to hear feedback from his teacher about this boy we’ve been trying to mold & raise for the past 5 years. So many things said about him that made me just beam with pride, but the most profound praise was that he exhibits an unusual sense of empathy and compassion for others. If there was any one trait in this world I could hope for my kids to have, it would be that❤️ #portercurtis
    • Porter: I wish it was Saturday.
Me: Why?
Porter: So I can be here and do hugs with you all day.
Porter said this to me as I was hugging him. He went from driving me crazy (arguing with basically everything I say all day, urrrday) to making me cry with his sweet words. Hello emotional roller coaster 🤪😭😍❤️
    • When you rush into your toddler’s room because of the silence and find this 🤷🏻‍♀️. I don’t even know who you are anymore Presto 😂 #prestonhenry #thisistwo
    • Thankful for these goofs today and everyday 💙💙 #porterandprestonm #builtinbestfriend @dianaelenaphotos

    Follow @bethanymitch

    Twitter Feed