In our hearts, we all hope for the best as we proceed through key life transitions. Naturally, we feel optimistic as we start out with our new life partner. Things seem to be going well at first, and then reality suddenly hits you in the face. Previous spouses are complaining about how we don’t stick to the agreed upon schedules, and new partners are not cooperating with what have always been your steadfast rules for your kids. Your kids and your spouse’s kids are fighting all the time. Everyone is refusing to listen to the reasoning or requests of the other members of the household, because they all think they’re right! Your head pounds as you say to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?”
The unfortunate truth is that as much in love as you and your spouse or partner might be, not everyone else involved in this new family you have created, are equally pleased about being joined together. For the most part, people don’t like change, and it can be very stressful on everyone. Children are not often quick to embrace a change of their home situation. For most of us, home is a sanctuary, a place where we feel safe from the pressures of the world. Home is where we take comfort in all our familiar routines (and yes, sometimes even bad routines are still comforting.) If you consider your child’s point of view, now there is an uninvited person in their home who is telling them what to do. Your child is thinking, “Who are you to boss me around? My mother never made me finish my homework by 7pm!” or “I don’t want to wait for their child to finish basketball practice, I’m already exhausted and hungry!” You are probably feeling like you can’t win no matter where you turn.
I’m guessing that this strife was not totally unexpected, but the depth and breadth of a child’s or previous spouse’s feelings of anger, rejection, and jealousy can become unmanageable by even the most patient, rational person. It can also threaten to overwhelm new family units if it is left unaddressed. If you feel that your new relationship is suffering from a deluge of issues, it may be time to seek professional help. Blending families together is a goal that can be difficult for anyone to accomplish on their own.
At West Coast Family Mediation Center, our mediators focus on improving communication by using neutral language and practical solutions to assist families who are in a period of transition. There are many ways that mediation can identify issues and design a family framework that can help families function in a healthier way. Our proven methods help establish a predictable, and therefore more calm, course of action for the future. Contact us today and find out for yourself how the tools of mediation can be used to bring balance back into your life.
by: Jennifer Segura