Are you ready for commitment?

If you can’t tell, I am a fan favorite of everything relationship. I’ve had my fair share of them and, if I can’t call them anything else, I can definitely say that they were learning experiences.

And I mean that in the figurative, literal, and comical sense.

We engage in many relationships over the course of our lifetime. I’m not going to ask anyone to personally count theirs because this post is not that long and some of you are very VERY friendly people. But, think about it. How many of us can honestly say that our relationships have taught us something valuable about ourselves? Can you look back and pinpoint those defining A-ha moments?

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Of the many things that my memory can replay, one of the most dominating stances was commitment. When you think of commitment, you might think of it as a one directional play. For example, when you have a job your obligation is to do your work so that you can keep the job. That’s your commitment, right? Well, that’s just one of the directions you follow to remain compliant.

There’s way more to it than that! Yes, you make sure your job is done but you also have to commit to getting there on time, you have to meet deadlines and maintain an open line of communication with coworkers and your superiors. At home, you need to make sure you get sufficient sleep (most of the time). You have to make sure that you have the proper work attire so that may mean doing laundry and/or going shopping. All of these actions are a part of your commitment to that one thing. Your job.

Guess what? Relationship commitment is not much different. In fact, it may be a little more tedious!

So, what’s the problem with commitment?

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Many people don’t realize that there are levels to commitment:

  • The beginning stage
  • The acknowledgment of exclusivity stage
  • The appreciation stage
  • The expectation stage and
  • The realization stage

Each of these levels need to be in sync with the relationship that is trying to be built and maintained. As we grow and change our levels of commitment may remain the same but the expectations of how they need to be fulfilled modifies.

Don’t get it?

Think of it like this. When we were in high school, our high school sweethearts did everything they could think of to impress us in the beginning. They  acknowledged our union verbally or by showing public displays of affection and showered us with little things that turned us into Cheshire cats. We expected nothing more and that’s what we got.

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I remember being given a jacket to wear. He would pick me up for school in the morning – meaning meet me at the train station – and we would ride together to school. We would stop for breakfast – at a Bodega – and get a bacon egg and cheese on a roll (gotta love NYC) that we would share. It was the cutest thing and we were content. We didn’t need anything else. At that time we weren’t burdened by the pangs of adulthood.

Now, fast forward to today. Would your levels of commitment be satisfied with just a jacket, train ride, and half of a sandwich?

When we change our expectations change because our needs are different. Do you get it now? GREAT!

…. BUT, first things first.

There are some very important things that need to be in place before you embark on committing to the love of your life. You may have heard this saying before: Make sure YOUR house is in order- and NO, I am not talking about washing the dishes and vacuuming the carpet. Before you decide to commit to someone else:

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  1.  You must commit to yourself. Now, seriously, how do you expect a relationship with someone else to work if the relationship you have with yourself is choppy?
  2. Don’t forget who you are. It’s not fun (for you) to get to a point in, not only your relationship but also your life, when you don’t recognize who a major contributor is. YOU! If you have to undergo a personal cosmetic surgery to make someone else happy, chances are that relationship does not deserve your committment.
  3. Don’t rush it. Take the time to get to know your partner. Being able to stay committed also means understanding your significant other.
  4. Be ready to meet your partner half way but be capable of going the distance solo… for two. No relationship is 50/50 and you can expect that there will be times where one of you is down and almost completely out. That’s where strength, determination and love needs to show up and show out!!
  5. Do you really want to be in a relationship? Ask yourself if you truly want the responsibilities of dating in the capacity of commitment. Are you willing to put in the time and effort required to make it work. If you have other pressing obligations that you are devoted to that do not welcome the constraints of a relationship, commitment may not be right for you at this time. Wait until you have settled all prior obligations before you begin another.
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Once is enough.

Hi Liz,

I met a guy through a mutual friend and we slept together.  I only wanted it to be a one-night stand.  The problem is, I’m not looking for a relationship but he keeps asking me to go out on dates.  I always make up an excuse of why I can’t go but I haven’t really told him that I didn’t want to see him again  because I don’t want to hurt his feelings .  It was just an in the heat of the moment kind of thing and I thought he would just get over it like I did.  I asked my friend to tell him but she doesn’t want to get in the middle.  What do you think I should do?

My opinion:

Your friend has the right idea. The actions that occurred were between two consenting adults. Now is not the time to try to hide behind anyone.

As for your one-nighter, you probably shouldn’t assume that he’s looking for a relationship. He might just want a round 2. Maybe you should just try the good old fashioned truth remedy. Continuing to give the poor guy excuses just gives him hope that he’ll catch you at a good time when your not so busy. If you’re worried about feelings he may or may not have, chances are greater that they will be hurt from your continued elusiveness. In this case, I think honesty is the best policy.

That’s my opinion.

If you would like my opinion, please complete the contact form below.

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Daily Inspiration: Choosing Happiness

Happiness- the characterization or indication of pleasure,contentment, or joy.

Sound familiar?

Responses I like to hear to that are-

Yesss!

That’s the best!

Or even, I know that feeling!!

Usually, however, I get-

Huh?

Umm, yeah…sure.

Right, I guess.

For a long time I was guilty of the latter and I must admit I, occasionally, still have slips and dips into the land of uncertainty when it comes to my happiness.

The thought of happiness should emit mental imagery similar to the feel of soft cotton sheets against freshly cleansed skin. Unfortunately for some, it signifies the search for the last cotton candy colored unicorn in a field of spineless cacti on a cool day in hell.

It may not always seem true or possible but our happiness is just that. OURS and, sometimes, we make the biggest mistake with it. We give it away to people and situations not worthy of it and replenish it less because, well, happiness is also reciprocated and there are far too many people who lose theirs in the same shuffled deck of cards that you do.

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No one wants to see you happier than you do and it’s foolish of you to think otherwise. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the “Look” that other people present as their lives but sometimes looks can be and are meant to be deceiving.

You are like no other and no other is like you. Embrace that! Self acceptance is the diamond engagement ring to your happiness. It may be one of the only priceless things that only you can afford to have that can’t be replicated.

When you love yourself you recognize your strengths, weaknesses, struggles, mistakes and accomplishments as equal contributors to the definition of you. You accept the fact that life isn’t always sweet but any lemons bestowed upon you are yours and yours alone to make a lemonade suitable to your taste.

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We all experience situations that, if ever granted that one special wish, we would want erased permanently from our life record. Of course, that is not an option! So what do we do? We carry every hour of the past into every day of the present. We torment ourselves. We allow our memories to keep us trapped in an emotional quicksand. The more we fight the more we sink.

Let It Go! Let go of everything that is rooted to that situation. It is weighing you down and preventing you from being free to be happy.

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I know I’ve said it before and I know you’ll hear it again, no one wants to see you happier than you do. Some people don’t want to see you happy at all! Your happiness intimidates them. It angers them. Usually, it’s because they don’t know how to be happy for themselves.

Defeat their regime. Kill them with kindness. Shower them with everlasting happiness. Bring them aboard the happy land train.

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There is a difference between sharing your happiness and giving it all away. When you give it away, it’s gone. There’s nothing left but shadows and misery. When you share your happiness, you invest in it. You make it stronger and, in the process, you allow someone else to gain strength from your happiness and build up theirs. It’s the type of contagion you want to spread.

Six steps to make on your yellow brick road to happiness:

  1. Happiness starts with change and change starts with choice. Choose to be happy. Every effort you make must be a conscious one toward happiness. Crowd your psyche is positivity and happiness will overflow.
  2. Be grateful. For everything, everyone, and every situation in your life…even the bad ones. Good things are capable of manifesting from the most boggling situations.
  3. Be you. Your life is not a competition. Don’t waste time trying to make yourself be like or better than someone else. It will make you too tired to stay awake for when your real self shows up.
  4. Learn forgiveness. Forgiveness frees you from the mental imprisonment caused by painful experiences. Don’t do it for the situation, do it for yourself.
  5. Make changes to your social circle. If you’re surrounded by sourpusses how can you expect happiness to flourish?
  6. Try a little R & R (resistance and resilience).  When trouble comes knocking say not my circus, not my monkeys and stand strong on your path to happiness. Resist the urge to be drawn into the negativities that surround you.

You deserve to be happy. Take the steps today to make it happen!

Not in her house.

My boyfriend and I live with his mother and stepfather in a three-bedroom apartment. We’ve been dating for 2 years and have been living here for one year. Our problem is his mother will not let us sleep in the same room. We’re both in our twenties and we both work. We help pay bills and buy food. She says she won’t agree to it because we’re not married. We’re not ready for marriage but think she’s being over the top. How can we get her to understand this?

My opinion:

My question is if both of you are working and are able to pay bills why are you living in his parents home? You didn’t mention anything about his mother or stepfather needing financial assistance or how you came about to move into their home. If they are able to maintain their home on their own with their own finances, I would recommend that you and your boyfriend move into your own place that way you’ll be able to play by your own rules and live the married life of two unmarried people. It sounds like his mother is very old-fashioned which may be an inconvenience for you but it’s the rules that she sticks by and because you live in her home you must abide by.

That’s my opinion.

If you would like my opinion, please complete the contact form below.

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Communication in Relationships

It’s almost here. In exactly 24 hours Valentine’s Day will officially commence. That one day of the year that’s supposed to showcase a lifetime of love.

Hmmm… Maybe that’s the problem…

Maybe people try to cram too much expectation into 1 out of 365 days of the year. Everyone wants to meet, date, get engaged, get married, buy a house, have children, grow old and die together ALL IN ONE DAY!

There was once a time when I fantasized about the fairy tale of love as well. Then reality knocked on the door. Relationships are much more than just celebrating Valentine’s Day. There’s a lot that has to go into turning a situationship into an actual relationship and making it last.

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One of the most important things, I have found, that can secure the situationship/relationship dynamic just as quickly as it can tear it apart is communication.

Communication is a life necessity. There’s no way around it and there’s no substitute for it. It’s a part of everything we do- at work, at home, when we’re out shopping- you name it and communication is required. We communicate with friends, family, strangers and even our pets. cat-1912251_640.jpg(YES, I TALK TO MY FUR BABIES! DON’T JUDGE ME)!

The point I’m trying to make is that without communication the world would be at a standstill.

Uhhh, no, that’s not exactly correct… actually, that’s 100% incorrect.

If people fail to communicate with each other there will be a lot of motion…commotion that is! A chaotic smorgasbord of clutterfuck roaming the Earth. No one would be on the same page and nothing would be on track.

With that being said, imagine what poor communication, or lack thereof, can do for a relationship.

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 Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy. Now what?

Deciding to pursue a relationship with another individual is a big deal. So, if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s probably a good idea to squirt some lubrication on your communication hinge.

Nothing says disaster better than a relationship sans intimate articulation. It’s totally not ridiculous for both you and your significant other to have expectations and to get results. The best way-even if not always the easiest- to meet that demand is to talk it out. Make it HOT!

  1. Be Honest. Giving hints doesn’t always work and your partner is not a mind reader. Be clear about your plans for the future as well as your likes, dislikes and feelings. This is the foundation of your relationship. Don’t build it on false happiness.
  2. Be Open. Much like honesty, being open with your significant other helps strengthen the compatibility the two of you share. Share those things that are important to the growth of your relationship
  3. It’s a Two-way Street. The success of your relationship heavily relies on the team work that both of you will need to contribute to.

****Honest and Open Disclaimer:   when you desire honesty and openness be sure you are ready for the truths it will reveal, especially when past relationships and habits are the subject. For some people, the epic dialogue from the film A Few Good Men rings true:

…”I want the truth”.

…”You can’t handle the truth”!

HOT talk is not the only rule of thumb for relationship goals. There’s no getting around serious issues and the worst thing you can do is play the avoidance card. Trust me, it WILL NOT go away. It WILL grow fangs and suck the blood right out of you. In these situations the best thing you can do is pull up your big boy/big girl britches and face it head on. THE RIGHT WAY.

  • Patience and understanding are super powers. superman-295328_640Be a superhero and use yours for the greater good of your relationship. The problem many of us have is that we want everyone to see things the way we see things. It would be perfect if our thoughts were the same and the way we expressed ourselves matched. Alas, perfect is not of this world. So, allow your partner to express themselves the best way they can. Recognize that the person in front of you is different and understand that their differences is what makes them unique. Listening with a patient ear instead of a hasty one opens the floor for more appropriate discussion.
  • Minimize judgement. Passing judgement is not what communication is about and it will only succeed in pushing your relationship off the cliff with no parachute. me-1767683_640 You and your significant other deserve to feel comfortable when you’re ready to bare your soul to one another without fear that the other person will not be understanding of who you are.
  •  We Need To Talk. The four words that everyone dreads but shouldn’t. rain-1570854_640.jpg

The Why. It should go without saying that there will always come a time where you or your significant other has something that is deemed to be of major importance. Whether it is something heavy or little on the lighter side, neither of you should be made to feel that your concern is of less importance.

The How. To make those four words more audibly appealing timing is key. Attempting to address issues when you are at the height of anger is Kryptonite to your superpower (remember patience and understanding). Self-control is your responsibility and much like you would not be welcoming to anyone unhinged; you shouldn’t expect the welcome wagon when you come undone.

When you allow yourself to calm down your thoughts become clearer, your method of communication becomes better, and your superpower is enhanced. Anger is the master of manifestation in the worst way. Don’t let yourself or your relationship fall victim to it.

The When. Demanding attention from someone and expecting a positive outcome right before or in the middle of a favorite activity or TV show… yeah…probably not a great idea. Ditto when company is around. Yeah. No. Don’t Do It!

Again, timing is key. Choosing a time when both of you are relaxed-but not tired- and free from distraction will maximize the potential for a positive outcome.

The Where. Find a location that offers privacy with no interruptions. If being outdoors offers a more relaxing environment, take a walk and find an area where you can speak freely.

Good communication is a major component in both developing and maintaining a strong connection with your partner. It strengthens the sense of security and trust that is necessary to meet your emotional needs, helps eliminate mistakes made from previous relationships and secures the longevity of this relationship.

Go get your own.

 I’m seeing this guy who is in his forties for 4 months now. I’m 23. He’s married but said that things are not the way they should be at home and he’s thinking about leaving but doesn’t want to hurt his wife by telling her so soon. He talked about us getting an apartment together when he gets a job. I really like him but think moving in after 4 months is too soon. Should I go for it or take it slow?

My opinion:

I really lost interest after reading that you were dating a married man- someone who’s probably old enough to be your father and jobless no less- but you asked the question and I will answer. It’s only been 4 months and this man is already talking about moving in with you? I would take that as more of a sign that he is just stringing you along to keep you where he wants you so you can provide him with whatever he wants. Because he’s unemployed I feel the need to ask, are you employed? Do you provide him with money or other materialistic things? The harsh reality of it, for you, is if this man is married the odds are highly likely that he’s not leaving his wife. I’m sure you may be a great girl-if you if you can put aside the fact that you have no respect for the marital union of others and, yeah, I get it he’s the one who’s married. He’s the one that’s cheating but if you know about his wife, where are your moral values? With all that aside I’m sure somewhere, somehow you must be a dream come true. Another question for you, is there any reason that you’re having a difficult time finding a man of your own? Usually younger girls go after older men because of their money. In your case, this particular fellow has none so do you have a confidence problem? Is your self-esteem causing you to make so many wrong decisions in your young love life? Do you have daddy issues? What could possibly make you want to settle for someone else’s husband? You really need to reevaluate yourself and raise your standards for the sake of your self-respect. I think if he really wanted out of his marriage, instead of looking for a new girlfriend he would be looking for that new job and that would be his main priority. Do you know of a perfect time to tell your spouse that you want to leave them and not have it hurt their feelings? If you believe that line you’re not ready to start dating yet.  You’re a little too gullible and his story is a little too fishy.

That’s just my opinion.

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In the arms of depression

Life is definitely like a box of chocolates. You never know what each second of it will reveal. It’s no surprise that there will be moments of joy, bouts of sadness and periods of loneliness. These are all normal growing pains that we are bound to by default.

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Feeling down is nothing to be alarmed about. We all experience situations that tug at the strings of our various emotional stages. We struggle, we experience loss, our ego’s take a few hits and, usually, we bounce back.

Sometimes, however, some of us lose our bounce. The continuous pounding from the fists of life come too hard too fast. We lose are footing and we slip and, while we’re down, it seems the fists keep pounding. Relentlessly.

When the sun isn’t shining on the inside there are a few things that you can try to do to boost your mood.

  1. Connect with friends and family that you enjoy spending time with.
  2. Get in touch with the beauties of the world. Visit an art gallery or botanical garden.
  3. Grab a book in your favorite genre and get lost in the pages.
  4. Music soothes the savage beast! Turn it up and dance!
  5. Turn on the comedy. Watch your favorite movie or stand up comic.
  6. Pets are very therapeutic.
  7. Treat yourself to a spa day. Massage the tension away.

There are many factors that can lead to depression. Abuse, death, illness, family history, medications and drug abuse are just a few of those factors.

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Symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of energy. Depression has the ability to absorb all of your energy. Many people with depression report being lethargic and sleeping more often.
  • Loss of interest in things previously liked. People with depression may become withdrawn from activities that were once pleasurable for them. They may no longer want to hang out with friends and family or participate in their favorite pastime hobbies.
  • Restlessness/anxiety. Where others may sleep, there are some who just are unable to. Their minds are constantly rotating thoughts and their adrenaline is pumping ferociously, making it difficult to relax and rest.
  • Change in eating habits. For some, eating more may be a symptom of depression or way of dealing with it. For others, eating is all but forgotten.
  • Emotional roller coaster. Unstable emotions can manifest during depression as uncontrollable outbursts of crying and anger. The seesaw effect of your emotions can leave you feeling over-stimulated in an undesirable and overwhelming way.
  • Giving up. People who become severely tangled in the grip of depression often give up on themselves and the idea that things can get better. They lose their desire to live and feel that the only solution is to commit suicide.

Signs of suicide ideation include:

  • Talking about killing oneself.
  • Voicing feelings of hopelessness.
  • No longer showing interest.
  • Constant sadness.
  • Fluctuating moods.
  • Participating in activities that could lead to death.

If you or someone you know are being held captive by thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention hotline is there to help at 1.800.273.8255 or 1.800.784.2433. 

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Feelings of depression are nothing to be ashamed of. Some people think they would be looked at differently if they were to admit that things were not quite right. You are not alone!

Millions of people suffer from some form of depression all over the world. If you feel your ordinary ‘down’ feelings are being a little to persistent or if there are changes in your behavior or that of someone you know, seek professional help. Your doctor can help guide you in the right direction.

The world is unique because of you! Don’t let depression tell you otherwise!

 

Cultivating a More Positive You.

Admitting that you have a problem is said to be the first step to recovery.

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My admission:

These past few weeks have been hella horrible trying to stay in the positive lane.

There! I said it! Now what? Does a pixie fly down and sprinkle me with some positive vibes dust? No? I didn’t think so.

I’ve been giving some serious thought to my recent lack of optimism and all around Growlygus persona (parents with little Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Fans will know exactly what I’m talking about).

I think I have it partially figured out. All around me life is happening. Not the life that I found, in an ironic way, comforting but a life that is evolving and leaves me unsure of how to react to it.

But evolving into what?

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When I turn on the tv there’s a circus of chaos. Turn on the radio-chaos. Go to the grocery store-conversations about the chaos. I feel like my not-so-happy thoughts are allowing me to be swallowed up by The Neverending Story’s Swamp of Sadness with The Nothing waiting in the shadows.

Yes, there are slivers of silver lining here and there but the mind has this neat trick that it does. It’s a pro at magnifying the negative to enormous proportions with little effort and highlighting the positive with invisible ink.

Am I the only one to feel the pressures of this rubix cube of current events? My intuition tells me no. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that, instead of being unsure of how to deal with the chaos, I should protest it…with positivity.

Oh about that….

Well, it seems my positivity needs a boost. It has taken quite a beating and I’m guessing yours has too.

We can’t change our view on our external environment if our internal windows are covered with mud.  ~Liz McKenzie

Here are some tips to help you mentally prepare for a day of positivity surrounded by the chaos monster:

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1. Go to bed!!! I don’t know about you but sleep has been a complete stranger to me. It visits but doesn’t stay long enough for us to get acquainted. I don’t know too many people who are able to foster a positive vibe with a tired mind. Look, whether you get a good night’s sleep or not, negativity will still be there. Having a well rested body and mind is the first line of defense to help you to combat it.

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2. Fuel your body. A cup of coffee, tea, some fruit. Whatever gets you going. Use it to rev up your positive self.

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3. Think about all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Your family, home, health, job, whatever it is that makes you happy. If you’re in a particularly rough time in your life, try writing those things that are a blessing to you in a journal as daily reminders of everything that brings you peace.

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4. Create a gratitude circle. Link up with individuals who can provide support as you all work to strengthen your positive thinking. Plan to send an email or text everyday of something you are grateful for. This is an excellent way to start your day on a positive note!

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5. Show those pearly whites. Who needs pixie’s and their magic dust when there’s magic in your smile? Smiling releases endorphins and serotonin that act as natural pain relievers, antidepressant and mood lifters. Trick your brain into a positive mood with a smile.

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6. Pay it forward. Spread positivity to those around you. Positivity doesn’t have to end with you but it’s a pretty awesome thing to start. Take advantage of your ability to uplift others!

Now, off you go to build your positivity portfolio!

 

Living Single or Ready to Mingle.

Hi!

So, I’ve been out of the loop for a while. My last relationship of 4 years ended badly and I have not had the desire to date anyone since then. It will be 2 years in May. Part of me is ok with not being booed up. The thought of having to get to know someone all over again-starting from the beginning- turns me off from wanting to date. Then there’s the other part that is a romance fanatic. Every romance movie I watch makes me wish it was me. I just wish I could get the romance without all the extra drama like the ex’s, cheating and the secrets. If you know of a way to bypass the bullcrap, please let me know; otherwise, I might be single for eternity.

Here’s my opinion.

Sorry, I don’t know of an easy route to love or relationships. If I did, it would be bottled up and in stores worldwide. There’s nothing wrong with wanting romance in your life but even in those movies the couples always have some sort of strife before things get better and even then, they have to work together to find a solution that suits the both of them. There’s nothing wrong with placing emphasis  on what you want your relationship to be like based on a movie but even true stories have some made up scenes. It seems as though you selectively remove all the life lessons that can be learned from some of these romance movies that lead to the happily ever after. The genie in the bottle is not real and a relationship based solely off the fantasy of a movie is just as non-existent. You have to work at making your relationship what you want it to be no movie can simulate that for you.

I agree that being a contender for someone else’s affection is not always fun. It’s all one big getting to know you rat race of life.  I disagree that all relationships involve cheating.

I’m not sure of the circumstances of your previous relationship but if you can still stomach a romance move, all hope may not be dead. If you really feel those are your only options and that you may be destined to live a single life, click here for some information that may help you get over that. It could just be that your relationship form is outdated.

That’s my opinion.

If you would like my opinion, please complete the contact form below.

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Blended Families: The Brady Bunch of today.

The family unit has undergone so many structural changes over the years. The traditional mother/father/children household structure has transitioned, for many, to include stepparents and stepchildren.

For those who have undergone the ritual of blending a family, you know all-too-well, the importance of preparing the home team for the new teammates. If you’re successful you will meet with minimal to no resistance but if you are like the majority you should expect to hit a few bumps along the way.african-990326_640

The process of blending a family can be a challenging one not only for the adults but also for the children involved. It may not be easy for someone to transplant their old habits into a new habitat or readily adapt to new living arrangements for many reasons.

In their own right, the combined matriarch and patriarch of the new household will experience their own challenges. They will have to learn to manage the different emotions that present from each individual involved, including themselves.

They must adjust to each other’s differences that weren’t prominent in the separate living stage of the relationship.

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They each may have different parenting styles and may fall on different sides of the spectrum where discipline is concerned. Those two issues alone are enough to tear down a marriage if it is not addressed immediately and properly.

Balance is everything.

Both parents (because a step parent is a parent) should be on mutual ground in the decision-making process when it comes to raising the children, if the plan is to do it effectively.

One very damaging habit biological parents have is wanting a step parent to be an active caregiver but then disagree with every decision they make because he/she is not the (biological) parent.

Flip-flop much?

It’s confusing. It’s sets a tone that minimal respect is necessary from the children and it’s a marriage killer. If you marry someone you should have done all the necessary research to feel certain that person has the best interests for the family. If you have to second guess that then maybe YOU made the wrong decision. Message.

If all is good then your priority should be to formulate a parenting plan that you can both agree to and, for those occasions where there may be a difference of opinion, keep it between the two of you.

In addition to forming a cultivating relationship with each other, bonding with the children is also very important. Step parents should place emphasis on gaining the trust of their stepchildren but also need to construct boundaries that will balance that trust with expectations.

Creating an open line of communication early on is the best ally you can have. Remember, they are just children but they have a lot of personality and opinion. Allow them to share it!

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In the face of change, children may have the most difficulty adjusting and accepting the new arrangements. Children who have been at the center of a breakup or divorce are more emotionally prone to resist the new norm and will require time and patience to help them come into full understanding and acceptance.

During the process children’s emotions may come on faster than you can blink.

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Here’s some jealousy?

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With a side order of sibling rivalry.

And that’s the fun stuff compared to the fears.

Fear that the biological parent will love the new additions more than them.

Fear that having a step parent means they cannot love the other biological parent.

Fear that the biological parent who does not live in the home will be hurt or angry if they like or even love the step parent.

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Help your child get over those fears. Reassure them that 1) their parents will always be their parents, 2) their parents will always love them no matter what and 3) its ok to get along with the step parent. If both biological parents, along with the step parent, can be on board with calming a child’s fears, you’re already at the success finish line.

The pink elephant in the room.

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There may be resistance from the biological parent who does not live in the home regarding the new arrangements. This may be the biggest factor in the success of acclimation into a new life and, sadly, this makes the children’s acceptance of the situation that much more difficult.

Biological parents who do not live in the home and who harbor bitter feelings over a break up, divorce or an irrational fear that the new parent will “steal” their child away from them have the ability to create unnecessary additional stress for the live-in parents and emotional distress in the children.

They may hold on to this false belief that it is better for children to grow up in an unhappy dysfunctional home with biological parents instead of a rational functional home setting with a blended family.

Unfortunately, not all originals work best.

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A child who lives in a home filled with anger, animosity, hate and, in some instances, violence and fear is not an emotionally healthy one. Teaching your child to be angry and fear the moment both parents are in the same room is a horrible trait to pass on.

Fighting against a biological parents new relationship, especially when there is no danger or inappropriate behavior towards the child, is not in the best interest of the children and can be very damaging to a childs emotional state.

If all else fails.

If your differences can not be worked out and, the child’s best interest are truly on the table, it may be time to call in the help of a professional.