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Blended Family

Celebs that Do Co-Parenting Well and Dig Each Other Too

co-parenting

There are new generation of celebrity broken up couples being excellent examples for co-parenting. Some are even still secretly into each other and dating.

Trending this weekend was Kourtney Kardsashian who was rumored to be back with her ex beau and dad to her three kids, Scott Disick. TMZ clarified today that the couple are on friendly terms and travel together for co-parenting reasons though Kourt is open to rekindling their relationship now that Disick has remained clean and sober consistently for a long period of time! The couple co-parent their children together, 6-year old Mason, 4-year old Penelope and 1-year old son, Reign.

Good for them!

Also, rumored to be back together are Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck who parents to 11-year old Violet, 7-year old Seraphine and  4-year old Samuel. Some reports state that they are actually planning to add on to their brood and some say Jen is already expecting. Who knows? Time will tell, for sure!

This weekend, a long-since divorced couple showed some cordial friendly behavior: Madonna and Sean Penn co-presented at an annual charity and had playful antics on stage. Penn even joked about handcuffing Madonna on stage after he took up her challenge to bid $150,000 for a necklace in exchange for her agreeing to marry him again.

Also, during the Latin Grammy Awards in November, Marc Anthony and ex wife Jennifer Lopez  gave each other a kiss after he presented her the Person of the Year award. He has since said that he is still in love with his ex wife and mom to their twins Emme and Max, according to US Weekly.

Sean “Diddy” Comb‘s relationship with his ex Kim Porter‘s son Quincy with 80s R&B recording artist Al B. Sure is ideal because he calls Quincy his son even though he is no longer with Porter and Quincy’s dad is very much alive and around.

Another great co-parenting role model is Jada Pinkett-Smith, who has helped her husband Will Smith raise his son, Trey, with ex Sheree Fletcher. They are great examples of blended families that get along.

Ask Alicia Keys, whose latest hit song is dedicated to blended families!

combs-smiths

Tips To Help New Stepfamilies Start Out Right

Guest Post 

 

Any new marriage has its hurdles. But when the newlyweds also bring children from previous marriages, they face the additional challenge of trying to balance the needs of the relationship with the needs of the kids.

It’s rarely as easy as the Brady Bunch made it seem.

“Too frequently, partners imagine that because they love each other, their children will jump on board and will also love this new partner as a stepparent,” says Dr. Anne Brennan Malec, a clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and author of the book “Marriage in Modern Life: Why It Works, When It Works.” 

In reality, children are often confused and have contradictory emotions about the new family setup.” Frustration can set in when the union fails to create instant family unity.

Try not to let it, Dr. Malec says. Everyone needs time to adjust and it’s up to the new couple to develop strategies for making this blended family work.

For starters, she says, each parent should be responsible for managing his or her children’s schedules, providing discipline and communicating with the ex-partner about any parenting issues.

“You should expect that it’s going to be a rocky ride, and you can be pleasantly surprised if it’s not,” Dr. Malec says. “Remember, the kids did not get a vote in this, and they very well may dislike the stepparent or stepsiblings.”

But, as with many things in life, patience mixed with a trial-and-error approach can get you where you need to be. Dr. Malec offers a few tips for easing the difficulties, if not eliminating all the pain:

Manage expectations. When creating a blended family, managing your expectations will decrease the odds of being disappointed, Dr. Malec says. Discuss your ideas for how the transition will go and set a reasonable bar for how you, your spouse, the children and any former spouses will respond to the new arrangement. Plan for a slow transition into this “new normal.” 

Keep communications with former spouses cordial. Some relationships with ex-spouses run more smoothly than others. Ideally, former spouses would communicate respectfully and keep in mind the best interests of the children. That doesn’t always happen, though. If an ex-spouse gets under your skin too much, you might try self-soothing techniques such as meditating, exercising, taking a walk or journaling. You may also want to consider seeing a therapist. “It will benefit your current relationship if you can minimize the conflict with a former partner,” Dr. Malec says. 

Nurture your romance. With so many challenges balancing parental and relational responsibilities, you will need to give extra effort to setting aside kid-free time. “Making time for just the two of you is critical to the success of your relationship,” Dr. Malec says.

 “Without proper attention, the new relationship can drop down the priority list as you get caught up in smoothing the transition for the children, creating a blended home and growing comfortable with your role as stepparent.” Make it a point to prioritize dates, whether over coffee, lunch, dinner or during a walk together.  

“Forming a blended family is a long-term process, and it is reasonable to expect some pushback from children, who had no voice in your choice to marry,” Dr. Malec says. “Be patient and try to see it through their eyes.

“Knowing in advance that it is likely to be tough and keeping your expectations dialed down goes a long way toward making sure your relationship doesn’t fall apart under the stress.” 

About Dr. Anne Brennan Malec

Dr. Anne Brennan Malec is the founder and managing partner of Symmetry Counseling , a group counseling, coaching and psychotherapy practice in Chicago.