5 Unnoticed WINS Blended Family Couples can Celebrate Today!
If you've been living in a stepfamily for any length of time, you might been feeling overwhelmed by all those things that you wish were going better. Mike and I listen to step-couples pour out their hearts about what they want for their stepfamily - their vision of what could be. Then they express bitter frustrations over how far out of reach that vision seems to be. One step-mom described her experience as feeling "tormented" by the complexities of their situation.
If you've ever felt overwhelmed, discouraged or even tormented by the realities of stepfamily life, you're not alone.
Rough Seas Ahead…
Mike and I haven't always had a smooth ride on our stepfamily journey - we've had some really tough seasons and there were challenges we didn't think we could get through. We've also experienced difficult emotions like anger, disappointment and despair that overwhelmed us and left us feeling hopeless. But through it all, we've learned something very important - we need to celebrate the WINS we experience along the way…even the little ones!
The stepfamily journey is typically 'two steps forward - one step back'. It's unrealistic to expect continual movement forward without any set-backs. But, it isn't only about embracing realistic expectations, having a positive attitude or seeing the glass half full. It's about acknowledging the progress you have made and taking some time to pause and really celebrate your WINS.
Count Your WINS!
Mike and I believe there are 5 Essential Elements for stepfamily success. Let's explores 5 WINS you can celebrate today (or look forward to celebrating soon) in each of the '5 Essential Elements':
Ready to more about the 5 Essential Elements?
Download your free copy of our eBook, 5 Essential Elements for Stepfamily Success!
Element #1: Stepfamily Bonding
Regardless of your role (bio-parent or step-parent), whenever you are able to spend 10 minutes or more connecting with each child in your family, you've got a WIN to celebrate! Even if it's simply asking the child to show you what they're doing and allowing them to "teach you" something about what they're interested in…that counts as a WIN! Carving out plenty of one-on-one time with each member of your family will support all the relationships and make a positive impact on the bonding process!
Element #2: Understanding Kid's Perspectives
Anytime you can put yourself into your kids' shoes and gain clarity around what they're experiencing, you deserve a pat on the back! Most often, the kids living in step-family dynamics have a very different perspective than the adults. Making an effort to discover your kid's perspectives will lead to more WINS for everyone - it will give you the ability to offer empathy and understanding when your kids are struggling and help them to move through difficult emotions.
Element #3: The Marriage / Partnership
Each time you intentionally invest in your relationship, you've got something to celebrate! In the busy-ness of step family life, it's easy to put your relationship on the back burner. We can get overwhelmed by issues with the kids, household responsibilities and the stress of dealing with the ex - then we've got nothing left to give to our spouse. Be intentional about making your relationship a priority and celebrate a WIN! Schedule a date night, read a book together, take a class or find something fun to do as a couple that will grow your romance and connection!
Element #4: Parenting and Discipline
Bio-parents, if you're consistently stepping up to set appropriate boundaries and following through with your kids…parenting kudos to you - celebrate! And step-parents, if you're focusing on connection, not correction with your step-kids and supporting your partner behind the scenes…you're on the right path! Parental roles in step-family dynamics can be tricky, but it doesn't have to be complicated when each partner understands their distinct role. Every time a child responds well to a parent's authority and at the same time, continues to build a trusted relationship with their step-parent, you've got a WIN to celebrate!
Element #5: The Parenting Coalition
Whenever you're able to let the bullet of conflict bounce off and instead promote peace within your co-parenting relationships, you're a winner! It's can be challenge to resist fighting back when someone from your parenting coalition has had a bad day and is taking it out on you. But you've got a WIN to celebrate every time that you're able to take the high road and choose to disengage from conflict. Reducing parental conflict will benefit your children and create a peaceful environment for your family…big WIN!
Celebrate Your Imperfect Progress!
Often, stepfamily life seems to be filled with an endless sea of challenges and complex dilemmas. But even while we're learning to navigate through the storms and set-backs, we can acknowledge the WINS! Choose to celebrate your stepfamily's imperfect progress - you're moving forward in the right direction and that deserves some applause!!
QUESTION: What WINS will you celebrate today? Leave a comment below…