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Building Love Together in Blended Families

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2020 7:03 am

Building Love Together in Blended Families

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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February 15, 2020 7:03 am

​Author and director of Family Life Blended, Ron Deal wants to help you build love together in your blended family. On the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Ron talks about the unique challenges step-families encounter. You need more than just good intentions to overcome them. How do you build trust and become one? Don't miss the encouragement for blended families on the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
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Family Life Today
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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
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Today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman help and hope for blended families be loving the everything you can be at a level that is palatable for the person to receive from you. Don't push too hard, just welcome to relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller the five love today some practical and biblical help in making your blended family members feel the love expressed her guesses expert.

One deal such a heart those families who were struggling questions and I'm excited because not only is wrong with he had air hose Gary Chapman lens five love languages with his family find her future resource via bloodline building love together. Gary you feel the same way as I do about run the groups are due because of no long for a long long time regarding interchurch lead workshops for blended families and have really enjoyed working with him on this new resource like it's going to help a lot of people. So I'm excited about our conversation today you and I think this might be a mission. Maybe you're not in a blended family but as you listen, there's going to be somebody that comes to mind.

All this to be a great resource for them or this conversation.

Maybe they could hear this one should listen carefully as we welcome back, Dir. of family life blended author of a number of helpful books for stepfamilies Ron deal's latest is building love together in blended families. "The 5 Love Languages" and becoming stepfamily smart. You can find out more. Five love well-run bill.

Welcome back to the program. Thank you Gary it's it's always a joy to be with you and Chris will first give me your perspective or why we created this resource office reflecting on that, not long ago, and I remembered back to having my first child to member having your first child in a long time yet, but I want to go back in the recesses of your mind.

You were excited you were enthused you were prayerful and the child comes and you discover how much you love it and like you just can't imagine loving anything more than you would do absolutely everything for this child. That's not a problem and then it cries all night and you're like, now you know everybody listening to us right now can relate to that.

Some positive good thing that came down the pike in your life and yet it came with challenges and that you had questions and you didn't have answers may be adopted for the first time or fostering a child it's it's there's joy and there's challenge and like what we do with that. I think an awful lot of people enter a blended family story with anticipation and excitement and eagerness and there's a lot of good in it for them and there are questions that come along with it. We wrote this book because we wanted to help people find some of those answers to the common questions that they're asking.

There is great joy in raising a child. It is a gift of the Lord. There's joy in living life as a blended family, and there are some challenges that come along with it and we just want to encourage you in that journey for you to run for a long time in the back of my mind I wanted to do something to help blended families and coursing as I said I've known you for a long time and know you've invested really a great portion of your life, and working with blended family. So whatever your grade to work together on this project. I was thrilled because I think together we created a resource that really is going to help families, especially at the point of how to love languages and interface in a blended family because it's very very different course. Well let's let's talk about the different types of blended families, you know, maybe we should step back and define what a blended family is also called a stepfamily depends on where you are where you live, the terminology people use different terms, but it's when one at least one of the adults has brought a child from a previous relationship into the new marriage. The new family that that's technically what a blended family is as you as you said, there's different types of blended families. So there's one adult brought a child or more. Both adults bring children.

Maybe they have a child together. One or both you sometimes there's yours mine and ours.

There's blended families that were preceded by the death of a parent so someone was widowed and now they're marrying again.

Sometimes it's a blended family preceded by divorce. Sometimes it's a story where someone had a child and was never married and now they are getting married, perhaps for the first time in their life.

There's never been a death or divorce, but marriage for the first time to somebody who's not the biological parent of the child. There's a lot of different pathways into this journey called blended family by the way, each one of those families has nuances and differences and and and challenges but also different rewards that come along with the journey. So it's a very diverse group of people that makes writing a book like this is as you remember we talked about this quite a bit like how do we speak to people and lots of different circumstances, I course, that's one of the great things to me about the love language is, is it does get below the surface down to some of the foundational relational dynamics going on in any family and how do we then apply that in a very specific way to what's unique about being a blended family and as we know run blended families are not always so blended. We hope for blended news this, but is not always there right exactly exactly in the heart and intent of the couple as they enter the family doesn't equal blended right they start a journey when they walked on the elegant married actually start the clock on the blending process and we know it takes on average 5 to 7 years for families to really find their sense of family identity. If you want to call that blended nests we can make up words along the way here but there's some stress in that merging journey. Those first few years are tend to be stressful for most stepfamilies. Because the realities Kickin and it's oh yeah you know you've already you've always done parenting.

This way I do it this way. My kids are expecting this. Your kids are expecting that how we gonna do this and of those realities can become stressful pretty quickly. I think as it relates to building love in a blended family. The title of this book, which is of course the objective of somebody getting married.

Like why would you form a family, if you were going to be a loving family. That's the point.

But the journey to build that love is affected by a number of things. So for example in the book we talk about having different expectations of what it is to be loving and what love looks like the way you love a sibling as a child made feel a little different than how you love a step sibling the way you love. A parent is different than how you, the love that you feel of the attitude you have or how you act towards a stepparent so obviously there is a journey there that people have to navigate and work through and and I really love the way we tell them what it is about building love building as in a process as in you start with a blueprint and you lay a foundation and then you begin to try to figure out where everything fits and that just takes time and we are to help our readers and listeners today understand a little bit more about the building process can imagine the listener who is only been in the blended family maybe four year but here you say it's gonna take 5 to 7 years to newly blended. I just swallowed a really horrible really really like nobody told me that the faster the wealth part of the reason the president tell you that is because the pastor did know to tell you whether things were doing here at family life is helping people and church leaders understand this so that they can be an asset to couples but you have Ace swallow hard.

A little bit and go home. Wow, I just didn't quite realize well again I want to put this in perspective because I think this is important Gary doesn't mean you done anything wrong just like having that first child and you go. I love this and yet I'm still trying to figure out what to do and I have often thought we felt sorry for her first child. You know you try out all the wrong things on the first child and you do get a little bit better with the second and the third. I think most parents can relate to that will, in the same way.

In the same way you your growing your learning your experimenting your learning what not to do your learning what to do in the process of building love within your family.

So yes, it's a process you gotta keep going.

You gotta keep learning and and don't be so disappointed or ashamed of how that process is going for you if your couple years in and you're feeling the tension that that's to be expected in other doesn't. Again then when you done anything wrong. It just means you need to learn and continue to trust God and and help you to do a better job managing the terrain as you move forward and let's face it a couple versus married, not a blended family. Neither one of ever been married hey, how long does it take you right there on the struggle for the first several years in our marriage so it's not not unlike our first marriage except their other complications and that's what were trying to address here in this book run. You've said before that every blended family gets together because of some loss that they have been through and that's really important understand is it really is because it plays a big role in how you build love just just yesterday I was recording a podcast. What I do a podcast called family life blended that I would recommend to your to your listeners and I was interviewing some people about special days, holidays, Mother's Day, Father's Day that you, how do you celebrate those in your blended family and a woman on the podcast who was well into her adult years married and had her own children when her widowed mother gets married so Jennifer is an adult.

I think she's probably in her mid 30s when mom marries a new man. Jennifer love your dad had a wonderful relationship with her father. They had a very strong family growing up. She even talked about can have a sense of pride about how healthy their family was, and who their family was, and then dad passed away and 15 years goes by 15 years.

That's a long time. They've adapted to dad not being there all kinds of things have taken place and mom falls in love, and gets married and Jennifer says you know it it it brought back all the pain in my dad's death and the trying to love this new man in mom's life and make room for him in our family and find acceptance that was where she Kept coming back to find acceptance meant that I had to again grieve dad and except that he was gone and that our family was going to change again and I didn't have any control over that whole process.

Now that is loss upon loss.

Upon loss and the new blended family generational family.

Three generations is experiencing more loss again for Jennifer because it relates to her dad so there's this there's this bittersweet element that is always under the surface, affecting how you build love in a blended family. Her mother was eager for Jennifer to enjoy this new man hazy step by step that Jennifer introduces him as mom's husband right and and so that's not my dad it all mean that's mom's husband. That's different, but moms eager she would love for Jennifer to to be drawn to this man because mom is but Jennifer's little hesitant. She's like this means I have to grieve dad all over again see those things are really intertwined along with the good of the new comes this bad. If you will, the sadness about the past and what's going you always have to attend to loss.

This grief is there. Whether the parent died or whether there's divorce right is still the loss and that trial had a father who's not there didn't die with the divorce. Yes, you say this is a sense of loss and and therefore the need for grief in every blended family in every blended family it is and it doesn't just happen on day one.

It is an ongoing story in the family for Jennifer and her story was 15 years after dad's death that mom got married. Well, it just brought up all the sadness again.

You know, this new man in her world is a walking billboard reminder that dad is not here you you can't have one without the other. It just is what it is not just throw this in your list. Here's an application that we talk about in our book. Let's imagine we were talking to this new man who is now Jennifer stepdad she's an adult. She's got her own family. He now has stepgrandchildren her children are his stepgrandchildren let's say he knows would Jennifer's love languages. Let's say he knows that it's physical touch and I'm just you and I'm just making this up. I'm not sure that's exactly the case. But let's have, how comfortable do you think Jennifer is with him hugging her to express love seat. Now we have a bit of a dilemma. He may have the best of intentions. He may have the best heart toward her wanting to develop a relationship, but that expression of love just may not feel right to her like there's other things that need to happen before physical touch is something she would welcome from him so lesson number one for blended families and "The 5 Love Languages" is just because you know someone love language does not mean you have permission to use it. That is a foundational difference that we talk about in this resource that I think is so very important fact that was one of the reasons you and I decided we needed to write this book and what would set it apart from the other great leveling which books that are available is is there's just a unique dynamic going on in blended families that you have to be considerate of moving slowly and understand that your build a relationship a little bit at a time and once both people are open to the expression of the leveling which is now the timing is right, because through the years ahead. Individual sites of me who are in a blended family who had read my book on the love languages and usually trying to apply it in all the relationships in this video, Dr. Evan, I know you wrote this book and I know this. This is true this love language thing but but in my blended family. I know their love language but they don't receive it and I don't know what's going own and again that was one of my motivations for wanting to be involved in writing this book because I knew this was a reality. Yeah, you know, foundational to what makes the five love linkages so amazing in terms of how it impacts relationships is the understanding that both people involved want to give and receive love. At the same level. But what if you have one person who really isn't interested in that in an art manner. Case example Jennifer is nice to the man she has a great wonderful openness towards him as a friend and he's I appreciate that he loves my mom but I don't need him hugging me. I don't need him in my life in an intimate way. So her motivation is low.

If I could say that way and the new stepdad's motivation is high. What what has to happen there. I mean this is a big lesson for anybody listening with your grandparent, step parent, step sibling when you're that highly motivated person trying to love somebody who has a lower motivation than you. You've got a scaled down your effort, you've got to meet them where they are not where you wish they were. It's the same thing if I asked Chris to give Chris an assignment, said Chris I want you to run down the street and meet you get a new neighbor moved into doors down and go down to make friends with them. Well, my guess is Christie would go down there and knock on the front door and you know when they open the door you begin a conversation but you stay on the front porch right what if you ran in to their living pushed your way through and said hey I'm your new best friend. You know, at that point everything backfired. Is there going. Who is this guy.

What is he about something called the police they don't know to trust you they don't know what you're about that understand your motivation you're moving into their space seat. That's not how you make a friend and the same thing is true in blended families the way you build love is by respecting the boundaries of where they are and you gotta meet them where they are and then work with that and over time you can become friends and then move when they invite you into the living room of their heart. Hope publishers are hearing that because it is the only way it won't happen if you just proceed in several like this happened to meet them where they are great great great truth we talk in the book about seven blended family principles for loving well want to share or to those as we have time this yet. You know we cannot talk to directly or on one of them just just put words on it again. Blended families are not born with a sense of family. This your journey is what nurtures that so it's this idea that again working to grow the relationships over time. Your eager when I say you're the adults who are getting married are eager for everyone involved in this blended family and again that's often three generations. It's the adults, parents, grandparents, if you will. That's the children step grandchildren. Your eager for everybody to get connected for Christmas and holiday traditions to come alive and for people to feel like they're at home with one another well that eagerness on your part is is not always met with by everybody else. It's a journey to begin to build love in those connections and it just will take longer than you'd necessarily wanted to so principle number two. Patience is a virtue. You know waiting on love can really be hard. Your eager you want to see that happen between other people.

They've got a figure that out there timing, their pace is going to be something that makes a difference in and how quickly that happens, here's another principle, and maybe one we could spend a little time talking about a committed, loving marriage is the first and last motivator of stepfamily integration, you know, it's pretty obvious to say it's the first motivator of building your family and building love within your family in the sense that if this guy and this girl didn't fall in love there would be no blended family right if they didn't decide to be together.

Nobody would be together. Nobody would be moving in the same house and trying to figure out how to love one another.

So it's the first motivator for everyone else.

It's also the last motivator, when and what we mean by that. We talk about this in building love together blended families is it when their stress in your home. When there is strain between stepfamily members and they are not motivated to find a way through that the marriage still is the motivator. Another words you staying together you being lovingly persistent, to be dedicated to one another and you're gonna love your family members through all the stress of merging is what ultimately says to them, you gotta figure this out. I mean the alternative is as a couple you quit and look if you're having step if you're some your children step siblings are not getting along. They're not building. Love well and you as a couple divide over that and you each go your separate ways. There's no way those stepsiblings are ever going to push through their merging struggles. Why would they wave now gone our separate ways. So the marriage is ultimately the glue and the thing that helps other people say I've got a figure this out and I think when the children see the parents and step parents loving each other and encouraging each other positive about life.

It does give them some hope. You know it does give them some motivation particular poster older because they want their parents to be happy in a yes and yes.

So I just think that marriage is the central unit in any family. Yes, it is extremely important in a blended family that we like that marriage relationship. What we dreamed it would be and that was loving and supportive and caring of each other very well said. Very well said, you know, there's one more principle I'll share today and that's it. Parents in blended families have to be a team and played one another's strengths as biological parent and stepparent try to help each other out again this this is a is pretty intuitive. You gotta be strong in your marital relationship that you also have to be strong in your parenting of the children and we spent quite a bit of time in this book talking around parenting and step parenting and working together at the end of the day. If you are divided over how to raise children and by the way the children could be adults. It could be that you have a 30-year-old who is in need of a financial loan for you to whatever reason, and the biological parents are yeah sure of just money and the stepparents like, well, wait a minute.

There are 30 and now were divided over how to deal with children. It's the same moment in time.

You've gotta find a way to come out together as a unified team note Gary. I know you've talked through the years so much about the importance of unity and parenting. It's just quadruple important in blended families because there is this fragile nest to the family identity. There's this natural divide between the biological parent and their children, and the stepparent and so is fragile like you have to work hard to secure the foundation of your marriage relationship in your parenting relationship. Otherwise things can unravel pretty fast. In addition to the coming to a place of unity on whatever the issue is also we make the point that the biological parent is probably the best one to share the guideline or whatever the decision is with their biological child, at least certain in the early stages as opposed to the stepparent communicating that to the child right yes because parenting is about influence and leadership and who has the greatest influence. The biological parent who has a long-standing committed trusted relationship with the child and while the child has a new relationship with the stepparent there figuring out trust or figuring out. I don't know where to put you in my heart how much authority do I grant you that's ambiguous.

What's clear is the biological parents place in the child's life. So yeah, we recommend that the biological parent do the hard work in the early years of the blended family and over time as love is built between family members, then stepparents can be doing more and more of that hands-on taking initiative sort of parenting. This reinforces what you're talking about Ron about the unified fraud in parents being of one mind about things. It it that's important and I'm not in a blended family.

My wife and I we have nine children and I said I see that every day you've gotta be together with this, but with all the complexities then of a blended family and the struggles with the kids.

He is hers hours you know that it if if you're not on the same page, or you don't struggle well to get on the same page.

Then the problems amplify. Don't they do and you know sometimes I realize when I talk about this and make it sound easy, and I never want to do that you don't get on the same page. Okay Pam were on the same page when it well you know reality is.

This is a series of conversations an ongoing process, which is true, as you just said Chris in all families for all parents. There's just even more reason for you to find that that togetherness in your parenting as a blended family couple because there's more things trying to unravel you. There's more dynamics pulling you apart so work at it and sometimes that means practically was at me. Well written a book is really helpful.

Everyone thinks we recommend couples do is get this book.

Read it together dialogue with another set of friends or somebody may be a pastor but absolutely within yourself what you think of that one thing that they just said well I don't know if I agree with that use the book as an opportunity to ignite the kind of conversation you need to have in order to find that unity again. Some people will need to consult with a pastor or counselor or somebody or grandma who just has a lot of life wisdom.

So do whatever you have to do but get on the same page run. Why do you think the divorce rate is higher among blended families than it is in first marriages. You know it's because of all the stuff we've been talking about its there are other you walk in without a map without a blueprint in your thinking we get to build a house.

Well, you just build a house right while this house is sitting on a different sort of terrain and there's a few earthquake tremors every now and then and so you have to meet, you know, different standards and be prepared for the X and Y and Z and O will we didn't recognize that we didn't realize that. So what will kind of building materials.

There's a specialization if you will, in what it takes to build this home and I I think a lot of people just get blindsided by that they start in thinking that it's a simple build and then discover it's a complex build and you know honestly I think a lot of people are just overwhelmed by that one of one of my hearts for blended families and the reason I'm working with family life to minister to blended families. 24 seven is I really believe that I've seen that people can overcome those questions and find and there are good solutions out there.

You don't have to end up divorced but I think a lot of people just give up because they don't know what else to do so. That's what were doing it. Family blended is is equipping people with resources to help them make sense of their life and move through it so important, so your stepparent and you got this child or children who are rejecting every move you make all closer to them to express love the we talked about this just a little bit earlier but but speak to that parent. Yeah.

Well first of all that is so hard it is frustrating. You know how hard you're trying that's so important and I want to recognize that you know how hard you're trying your your putting your best foot forward your you're being kind you're extending yourself you're making sacrifices you are throwing your time, energy and money into this child in the family and make it work, and yet you feel pushed aside rejected whatever word you would use it does.

It is not a good feeling and it is hard to endure underneath. So having said that, I think. Here's how you endure. First of all, you recognize that this child's need for you is not as great as your need for them not in the moment not right now their level of motivation as we talked earlier to have a love a intimate intimate relationship with you is just not as high as yours is recognize that and say I need to lower my expectations. I need to lower my citations of them and of myself so that I can meet them where they are. I'm back on the front porch knocking and they're not opening the door. How do white stay here long enough to give this a chance. That's number one number two. You and I talk in the book about lead with love and then listen for love and let so let me talk about both parts of those. This is again how you endure in that situation leading with love is okay.

I'm called to be loving towards this child. I don't have to have my expectations so high that I'm constantly disappointed. It's okay to lower your expectations but I still want to lead with love. I still want to be kind, I still wonder with their love languages and in their dialect so that I can do things that are helpful. Now if if they're leveling just something really intimate, like physical touch like we talked about earlier, quality time, but they're not interested in giving me quality time what you can't do that so it's okay.

Find another expression of that one of the things we share in the book is start with acts of service most people are grateful for kindness done to them.

So just live in that zone for a while love them. With that, by the way, just a little insight I had recently in an old story.

We've all heard the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10, you know it's only been recently. Maybe I missed it all along. The question that is asked by the attorney who's wanting to justify himself is who is my neighbor and then Jesus tells his great story about the good Samaritan, but the question Jesus returns back to the attorney is not the same question he asked Jesus does not say now who is your neighbor the question he asked back after telling the story is who was the neighbor who lead with love, not who is my neighbor like I have to love some people and don't have to love of the people who will be the neighbor. That's Jesus question and I think if you're feeling rejected. That's you be the neighbor be loving, be everything you can be at a level that is palatable for the other person to receive from you. Don't push too hard. Just be there and be consistent that's leading with love and then the last thought is listen for love we tell a story in the book about a stepdad who said boy my stepson in do everything I serve, I give, I do. I'm even doing love language stuff and you never acknowledges it or gives many credit for any that and he was really discouraged and defeated and that one day he and his wife are having a conversation actually were talking with me about about this love language stuff and I asked the question and I said what. I'm just curious what is he saying about you to other people and all of a sudden there was a Saha with a both realize that what his stepson does. He doesn't ever directly stated stepdad thank you for the stuff you do for me, but what he does do is tell his friends. My stepdad does stuff for me. What he couldn't do is acknowledge directly. I am making room for you in my heart. Thank you for who you are, but what he could do is go around the bend and so this stepdad in the biological mother and that situation both had to listen in a new way for the love comment that the child could make maybe it was a loyalty think maybe the child didn't want to dishonor his biological dad by being really close and affectionate towards his stepdad.

Who knows what the reasoning is but at this point in time.

This is what he can do okay will listen for that because that's still love it may not be the level of love you hope for. But that still love we talk about in the book not only the love languages we talk about dialects with in the languages. Why is that important to understand that how does that apply in a blended family that well. This is where I need to turn it over to you the expert because you're the one who perfected this notion of dialect, but III learned so much from you about the it's the nuances within the love language. Somebody has quality time. That's her primary love language, but within it. Their dialect is quality time doing activities that serve other people, or its quality time you and I walking together. No distractions, just having conversation if you're looking at your phone. The quality time is gone. So it's finding the specific expression of that love language for this person and that's the beauty of dialect. There's a great wisdom in that and of course in a blended family like one of the things you have to do just in loving your spouse is unlearned.

The dialect of a previous spouse and learn the new one. Of this you know we tell the story again in the book of one of the guys who his first wife, and his second wife's love language was exactly the same but the dialects were very different so so he he's think you know I got this I know how to do gifts.

I know how to give gifts while the dialect for his second wife was surprising. Gifts not just any gift, not just something here's a gift card go buy yourself something know it was surprise me with something that's really what was helpful for so he had to unlearn a habit from a previous relationship and relearn a new habit. In this new relationship that there's great wisdom in that dialect a lot of applications of it. I like the story we also tell about the child whose primary love leverages physical touch. Stepparent knows that and of course mentioned earlier, so they reach out to hug them and they want to hug him and so we talk about the different dialects, some of which are are more intimate than others. So maybe if the child's leveling physical touch. You have to start with maybe fist bumps his head that I want to know and then maybe a little pat on the back and maybe it might be several months down the road you really get a hug and they embrace you, so if you understand the dialects in the different levels of intimacy. You can cut a walk into their love language, step-by-step, let me just add on to that because that is so very important for the listers right now. I have heard from so many children, teenagers and even adult stepchildren over the years who looking back said this is what my stepparent did right. What they did is they did not push themselves on to me. They did not say I'm your new dad or I'm a new mom.

They did not say you must call me mom. They did not enforce love in on me and and and what they did do these people will tell me is they just let me figure them out.

They gavethat's what the fist bump says I respect you enough to just connect with you as you're able to connect with me at this point in time, and I'm going to trust that over time, deepen and remove something we will fist bump forever, but for now that's what were doing is the part of what what the struggle is for the parent is a fear that they're not gonna love me they're not going except me. Then I got a call me mom, but I got you. Whatever the problem is and that fear instead of the trustee know that instead of just kind of relaxing and being content with whatever level the child wants to respond either. That's there's something secret in that sauce. Yes, fear always makes us panic and panic never helps us love the way Christ wants us to love so recognizing that in yourself and say I've got a calm that fear I can't let that dictate how I respond to this child and I do have to trust you. Not necessarily in the child, but I will trust in God that if I lead with love continue to be patient walk this thing out. Eventually it will open the door to something else wrong.

What are some of the special circumstances when the blended family is also an intercultural family that we can jokingly say is a blended blended family for their blending cultures. Their blending people and family and traditions and relationships so it adds a whole another layer to the blending traditions is a good illustration of this. You know how you celebrate Thanksgiving or the food you eat or the way you do birthdays or if it's a Hispanic parent who marries somebody from an Italian background he have different expressions of love and conflict thinking on how you speak to those in different expectations of how children respond to adults right so those cultural messages play a role in again your expectations of one another what you hope to see how you judge whether you're successful or not, you know, I've known people who said boy for not hugging if were not all having big loud boisterous conversations then were not family well that's true in your Italian family background. But that's not necessarily true in somebody with a different background so there's more conversation to have. There's more dialogue between the adults to say what do we expect. How do we work with this and I would say where that one of the tips you can do is help educate the kids and yourself have family meetings and cover a over dinner you know ahead of you guys noticed.

I like to be loud and the kids are going yeah you do know what that's all about but yet well this is where it comes from my grandmother boy could she put up and you get that stuff out and you talk around it and you say and I've kind of put on you the expectation that you guys would join me and that you would understand that I'm really not angry at you all the time that I just sound angry sometimes would please forgive me for that I'm working on that. Just know this is what's going on in my heart have those conversations so people are getting it not just adults but kids need to hear that as well. Apologizing for our missteps and or misstatements. You can also be really healthy blended family are in love, Linda, for that matter yes yeah we talk about that the blended family. There are loyalty conflicts or love conflicts. Again, just explain what that is and how do we will overcome it. It's the feeling that I have a special place in my heart for someone that's important to me and I don't want to push them out or feel like I'm being made to push them out and so how I make room for somebody new. So imagine you know it. 12 kid who deeply loves his dad and his mom mom and dad are divorced, but I don't care they're still my parents. I love them like crazy and I have a relationship with both of them. Well now I have a stepmom centered, my world and she you know is a great person. That's kind of my problem. I love my mother and I like my stepmom.

I don't want my mom to think see you.

That's the loyalty, I want my mom to think that I don't love her anymore that somehow loving my stepmother more than her. So a child will often in that situation hold back on really moving toward the stepmother like I am holding back to send the message to my mom that I still love her most and am holding back to send the message to my stepmom that know it's not that easy.

You can't just walk into my heart. That's a loyalty conflict is very common.

Its effect is predictable for children that they would experience at the beautiful thing that adults can do is give a child permission to not have to break their load their loyalty conflict for the stepmother to say to this child. I love you. It's okay if you like me love me and I'll leave that up to you will figure this out together. But what you don't have to do is stop loving her mom fact, I want you to continue honoring your mom loving your mom spending time your mom I'm good. Help your relationship with your mom, I'm never going to compete with that. That's a message that frees the child up and says oh whoa, you're kinda cool about all this and now that just made you attractive run. We talked a little bit about the grandparenting stepchildren. Let's touch on that topic again because I know their grandparents are out there listening how to relate to my step grandchildren.

Yeah, they're eager to build relationship and and move into the child's hard in life and and if you're a grandparenting is a great relationship with your grandchildren what you just naturally want to have a relationship with her step grandchildren, although I have to just comment the circumstance. Insert surrounding you.

Becoming a step grandparent do make a difference in a could be that your adult child meets very poor decisions and you don't feel good about any of those things. And now the consequences are that somewhere down the road there now in a blended family and so this is kind of been forced on you as a result of poor choices from your child that can make it more difficult for you to embrace your role as a step grandparent and what I would just say to you is yeah embracing that role. First of all, is not is not your blessing on the. The poor choice your son or daughter made you're not doing that at all, but you are saying this is where were at. And this child deserves and influence somebody with a godly Christian point of view and I'm gonna try to be that now you still have to figure out a relationship. The child can I figure out where to put you in how to work you into their heart and so you're going to navigate that over time. Another factor here and grandparenting has to do with that middle generation. You're the son or daughter or son and daughter-in-law they really are the gatekeepers you know. I've seen situations where that middle generation said no we really don't want you spending time with our children and you really are blocked, for whatever reason, that is really frustrating that can be really frustrating and and you ultimately have to work with that parent to get their permission to be able to have access to the children. It is what it is you start with what with the challenge in front of you and try to move forward from there it all along. We talked about this concept of pacing and that certain would apply in this situation right it does it does. It's that same principle that stepparents have to apply your knocking on the front door. Your euro. By the way, one of the other peas. We talk about instead parenting is pursuing a relationship with the child and so your knocking and you're hoping that they're going to open the door and let you in.

So it starts with being there being gentle but being making yourself known as somebody who's interested in building relationship and then you have to pace if they crack the door open and talk to you through the through the crack in the door.

Well, that's not much. You certainly can't get into the living room. That way, but it's what you have and so you talk through the door. And ultimately we're trying to do is build enough trust in them that they go yeah I'm opening the door and you come in. It just can be longer to get there than you really want other times almost gone but you mentioned the 5P's of the stepparent thing and you mention one of them pursue just briefly mention the others. Yes, so pursue pace with patients. That's number three patients. It's that, again, that waiting quality that I'm doing what I can do, hoping and trusting that this is going to lead to a little bit more. Persistence is raw determination just not gonna quit gonna stay the course.

However long it takes and then you wrap it all up with a lot of prayer so you know that's God, give me the strength to continue on this path. I don't see it happening. Son happen fast enough for me. It's frustrating.

Whatever the case may be, or maybe it's full of blessing, but there still more that you're hoping for it either way and wrap it up in prayer.

Let God help you on this is been a great conversation and I did it really did enjoy your writing this book with you really believe that is going to be up to that blended families can use that will enhance the loving relationship. Thankfully, thanks for working with you like it for yourself.

Or maybe there's someone as you listen today someone you know in your own family, someone you work with all go to five love send them the link so that they can hear this conversation as well as see the book building love together in blended families. Five love languages becoming step family smart again. Just go to five love next week uncovering the love of Jesus and prepare your hearts to celebrate what he achieved for us. She joined us to talk about hanky to an action and Janet helping out in Little Rock.

Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman's association with administering five

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