Living as the Brady Bunch: Dating with Kids

Introduction

No two relationships are alike, and some have their own special characteristics. Today’s modern family often consists of children living together who come from both the woman and man’s previous marriage. Much like the famous TV show “The Brady Bunch,” many relationships today involve people living together with their children from previous relationships. Sometimes, this scenario can be a bit difficult on both the adults involved in the relationship, but it especially has an effect on the children. Trying to incorporate two separate families into one unit can be quite a challenge. Often, the families have already been created prior to this new romance, and so adding new people to the mix is not always a welcome option. Kids can sometimes be resentful, angry, and even downright hateful towards your new love and his or her children. That’s why it is important to learn to nurture these relationships and encourage harmony.


Hardships

In many cases, kids from both sides of the relationship will have a difficult time adjusting to this new family scenario. Children, especially teenagers, might show signs of resentment or rebellion against your significant other and his or her children. For example, a teen girl may harbor some resentment towards her mother and her new boyfriend, as well as his children. It often can feel like an intrusion on their life, and sometimes kids can feel left out. Jealousy is a problem with kids as it is, and adding new family members to the mix can just amplify that sometimes. This behavior can cause a strain your romantic relationship, and sometimes people split up just to appease their children. Keep in mind that most children learn to adapt over time, and that these feelings of resentment are often only temporary.

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Incorporation

Fortunately, there are ways you can incorporate your family and your partner’s family together peacefully and harmoniously. Try to spend some time with all children from both sides of the relationship together. Participate in activities that everyone can enjoy. This will build relationships between the children and yourselves, and help to create a sense of family for everyone. While your children might not think of your significant other as their parent, they can still have a deep respect and love for them over time. Remember to emphasize to your kids that you’re not trying to replace their biological mother or father, but that you’re just trying to include new people you love and care for in all of your lives. Incorporation takes time, but it can turn out wonderfully if everyone is willing to get to know one another and develop a bond.


Keeping the Relationship Alive

While you want to focus on making sure your kids are happy, it’s also important to keep your relationship happy and healthy. Spend some time alone without the kids: go on dates and try to spend time together on your own. When things get stressful, lean on each other and try to be as open and honest as possible. Don’t hide the way your own kids are feeling, but instead, put it out on the table for your significant other to ponder and help you address it with your kids and his or her children. While keeping the kids happy is important, it is of no use if neither person in the actual relationship is happy, so do not forget to focus on each other and your needs. The romance needs to stay alive between the two of you if you want things to work out in the long run.

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