It’s always exciting when a family’s extending, but it can also be challenging and require certain planning. This is especially true for blended families, as there is a lot to regard. While blended families consist of partners and the child or children they had with their ex-partners, there are also other people and situations to take into consideration, which can sometimes be stressful for the parents. However, you should keep in mind that you’re not the first ones to make such a family function well and that this wonderful addition to the family can enrich all of your lives. If you’re worried about preparing those closest to you and yourself for the arrival of the new baby, here are some of the things you can do in the anticipation of the joyful event.
Open the Topic Early Enough
Even if the baby is still not really on the way, but you and your partner are working on conceiving, it might be a good idea to at least mention something to the other children in the family. Just a hint, like saying that it would be nice to have another child, can get them excited about the idea and have them accept the news better once the pregnancy begins. Whenever you talk about the baby, make sure your own tone reflects your optimism so that the other children can conclude that expanding the family is a good thing and that you’re doing it because you already love all your children, biological and stepchildren alike, and you should all be open for more of that love. That way, when the children learn about the big news, they’ll already know that your attitude is positive, and theirs should be as well.
Talk to Your Ex-Partners
As amicable as your separation from your previous partners may have been and as well as you get along with them now, it’s important to inform them of any big decisions you make regarding your family. Yes, you have the right to build your family your own way, without actually giving them a say, and they probably know it, but you shouldn’t forget that you had children with them and that you don’t want them to resent you for excluding them completely. After all, to some extent, this affects their family as well. If they begin resenting you or showing jealousy or animosity towards your new situation in front of the children, it might make the kids upset about the baby. You’re trying to set the ground for a harmonious relationship between you, the children you have, and the one that’s coming, and it can go much easier if everybody’s on the same page and they’re given the recognition they seek.
Rely on Other Parents
If you look around, you’ll probably notice that there are many families who have gone through the same process you’re going through at the moment, whose experiences can benefit you greatly. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to ask for their opinion or advice. Even if you don’t agree with some of what they tell you, you’re still likely to hear something from them that you can use to your advantage when laying a foundation for healthy family relationships in your own life. If you can’t really find people like that in your proximity, you can turn to the internet for help. Namely, there are some excellent websites and amazing apps for future parents that you’ll find useful, whatever your circumstances are. The practical guidance you can get from such an app is invaluable and can take a huge load off your back when feeling like you don’t have a trustworthy person in your surroundings to talk to.
When you’re trying to get your children accustomed to the idea of a newborn in the family, giving them time and waiting patiently for them to adjust to the new situation is essential. Forcing them to get close to their new sibling and to spend more time with them than they feel comfortable with can create a countereffect and make them want to avoid any contact with the little one. Another thing that could cross your mind is trying to lure them into interacting with the baby more than they’d like to by bribing them. All you can achieve is for them to put on an act for you, making you believe they’re enjoying their time with the baby so that you’re happy with their behavior. This isn’t something you want, as your children or stepchildren might feel inadequate and unhappy that way, and it could create a gap between them and your new child. Instead, simply give them the opportunity to help you and spend time with the little one and allow them to do that to the extent that suits them at a particular moment. This can encourage them to actually want to be around their sibling and create a bond with them that will only be stronger with time.
Spend One-on-One Time with Your Children
Even though you might be expecting, you’re aware that the children in your family are truly still just that, children, and that they need your attention and your affection, perhaps now more than ever. You can expect them to feel confused and insecure, wondering if you’ll still care about them as much as you do once the baby’s born. By devoting your time to them and engaging in various fun one-on-one activities with them, you’ll let them know that they’re still as important to you as they’ve always been, which is not going to be any different when the new baby arrives. This will also provide an ideal opportunity for them to ask you what they’re curious about and to tell you what’s bothering them about the changes in the future. Plus, you’ll be able to convince them through words and actions that you won’t love them any less and that they won’t have to compete with the baby for your attention, but that the love within the family will grow and become stronger and more fulfilling when there’s another member for all of you to care for.
When it comes to expanding your family, your own approach to the current situation matters greatly, so make sure you’re ready for the upcoming changes yourself so that you can prepare the other family members on time, too. And if you want to revel in everything good that you expect to happen, feel free to. After all, it’s important that you embrace the possibility of magnificent things coming your way and all the incredible ways your family will grow with the new member you’re all waiting for.