When blending a family, it takes all parties involved to have open communication and a mutual understanding about what is in the best interest of the children. More times than none, within blended families you have different parenting styles that conflict with others and the children are left in the middle, blindsided by the huge difference in discipline, communication, and expectations from one house to the next. This is where the Carter family found their biggest struggle when they blended their family.
Here’s their story:
Cecil and Cecily Carter have been together 6 years, married 3. When Cecily, a single mother of one, met Cecil, a father of four, they dated, connected in a special way, and decided to bring their families together as one.
“We were prepared to love our babies as though we’d always been a part of their lives, all six of them” stated Cecily. “But never did we think it would be difficult for his children to let me into their heart. That really took me by surprise.”
The Carter’s know firsthand how an emotional disconnect can cause a great divide within the family. Cecil and Cecily both agree that they run a tight ship at their home. With two kids living with them full time and the other four with them part-time, they both find it critical to provide a structured, consistent, fair, and disciplined environment for their children. The struggle began when their four children found it difficult to adjust to the environment after being away for a while.
“It has always been important for us to openly communicate our expectations to our children and their mother,” shared Cecily. “Our parenting style was never intended to divide our family, but to merely provide a balanced, safe, and structured place for our family and we’re not about to bend on that.”
Putting their personal feelings on the backburner, Cecil and Cecily sat down with their children to get a better understanding of what they felt about the family. This time, Cecil and Cecily listened to understand, not to respond.
“I’ve experienced divorce as a teenager,” exclaimed Cecily. “So it was very important that I, as their mother, listen to their heart and show them that I get it, now let’s work through this together.”
The Carter’s even took it a step farther when they tried, on many occasions, to help others understand the reasons they parent their children differently, but her attempt was getting her nowhere. Now the children were caught in the middle of an emotional battle that they didn’t understand. The Carter’s formed a united front against anyone and anything that went against the firm foundation they were building for their family and that’s when the forces started working against them.
“It was like playing tug of war and our children was the rope,” shared Cecily. “It was time for us to just let go and let God, and my husband totally agreed.”
Blending a family is getting all the ingredients to mix well together, and if you don’t get the texture or the consistency you desire, just make minor adjustments as needed. That’s what The Carter family is doing. They are putting in and taking out, little by little, those small things that help make them better together; all eight of them. But it’s a work in progress. It’s hard, emotionally hard, but they keep trusting God to do exactly what he’s going to do in their lives.
Do they wish things could be different? Absolutely! But what they do realize is that not everyone adjust well to change nor does everyone interpret information the same. So it’s going to take some time. More time than The Carter’s would want, but that’s okay, because the Carter’s know that they’re a blended and winning family no matter how much time and space separates them. The things they have that make them win is God’s unchanging hand, love and knowing that time heals all wounds, but they have to keep moving forward in order for the healing to begin.