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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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Today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Help and Hope for Blended Families. 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. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Today some practical and biblical help for making your blended family members feel the love you want to express. Our guest is step parenting expert Ron Deal. He's one of my favorite people on the planet. Such a heart for those in blended families who are struggling and have some deep questions and I'm excited today because not only is Ron with us but he and our host Dr. Gary Chapman have been working on a great resource that blends "The 5 Love Languages" with this step family topic.

You can find our featured resource at fivelovelanguages.com titled Building Love Together in Blended Families. Gary do you feel the same way as I do about Ron Deal? Well you know Chris I do because I've known Ron for a long long time. We've had him in our church to lead workshops for blended families and I have really enjoyed working with him on this new resource and think it's going to help a lot of people so I'm excited about our conversation today. Yeah 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 oh this would be a great resource for them or this conversation maybe they could hear this. I want you to listen carefully as we welcome back director of Family Life Blended author of a number of helpful books for step families Ron Deal. His latest is Building Love Together in Blended Families "The 5 Love Languages" and Becoming Step Family Smart.

You can find out more at fivelovelanguages.com. Well Ron Deal welcome back to the program. Thank you Gary it's it's always a joy to be with you and Chris.

Well first give me your perspective on why we created this resource. You know I was reflecting on that not long ago and I remembered back to having my first child. Do you remember having your first child? It's been a long time.

Yeah it's been a long time. If you 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 and you would do absolutely everything for this child. That's not a problem and then it cries all night and you're like now what do I do?

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 maybe adopted for the first time or fostering a child it's it's there's joy and there's challenge and like what do 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's some challenges that come along with it and we just want to encourage you in that journey. Well you know Ron for a long time in the back of my mind I wanted to do something to help blended families and of course you know as I said I've known you for a long time and known that you've invested really a great portion of your life in working with blended families so whenever you agreed to work together on this project I was thrilled because I think together we've created a resource that really is going to help blended families especially at the point of how do the love languages and interface in a blended family because it's very very different of course. Well 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 step family.

It 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 adults brought a child or more both adults bring children maybe they have a child together one or both 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 somebody 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 a divorce there's never been a death or a 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 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 as you remember we talked about this quite a bit like how do we speak to people in lots of different circumstances and of course that's one of the great things to me about the love languages 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 yeah and and as we know uh ron blended families are not always so blended yeah we hope for blendedness but it's not always there right exactly exactly and the heart and intent of the couple as they enter the family doesn't equal blended right they start a journey when they walk down the aisle and get married they actually start the clock on the blending process and we know it takes on average five to seven years for families to really find their sense of family identity if you want to call that blendedness 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 step families because the realities kick in 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 are we going to do this you know 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 weren't 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 may 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 or the attitude you have or how you act towards a step parent so obviously there's a journey there that people have to navigate and work through and and i really love the way we titled the book 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're going to help our readers and listeners today understand a little bit more about the building process now i can uh imagine a listener who has uh only been in the blended family maybe for a year and they hear you say it's going to take five to seven years to get really blended here they just swallowed really oh really really yeah yeah like nobody told me that how come the pastor didn't tell me that well part of the reason the pastor didn't tell you that is because the pastor didn't know to tell you that one of the things we're doing here at family life is helping people and church leaders understand this so that they can be an asset to couples but yeah they swallow hard a little bit and go oh wow i just didn't quite realize well again i i want to put this in perspective because i think this is important gary it doesn't mean you've 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 nan and i have often thought we felt sorry for our first child you know 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 well in the same way in the same way you you're growing you're learning you're experimenting you're learning what not to do you're learning what to do in the process of building love within your family so yes it's a process you got to keep going you got to keep learning and and don't be so disappointed or ashamed of how that process is going for you if you're a couple of years in and you're feeling the tension that's to be expected you know that doesn't again doesn't mean you've 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 who is just married not a blended family you know neither one i've ever been married hey how long does that take you know yeah right carolyn i struggle for the first several years in our marriage so it's not uh not unlike uh first marriage except there are other complications yeah and that's what we're trying to address here in this book ron you have said before that every blended family gets together because of some loss that they have been through and that's really important to understand isn't it yeah it really is because it plays a big role in how you build love just just yesterday i was recording a podcast i do a podcast called family life blended that i would recommend to your to your listeners and i was interviewing some people about uh special days holidays mother's day father's day that you know 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 now jennifer loved her dad had a wonderful relationship with her father they had a very strong family growing up she even talked about kind of having 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 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 the word she kept coming back to to find acceptance meant that i had to again grieve dad and accept that he was gone and that our family was going to change again and i didn't 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 hey he's your stepdad no he's not my stepdad jennifer introduces him as mom's husband right um and and so that's not my dad at all i mean that's mom's husband that's different but mom's eager she would love for jennifer 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 this sadness about the past and what's gone you always have to attend to loss and this grief is there whether the parent died or whether there's a divorce right because it's still the loss you know and that child had a father who's not there didn't die but they divorced and and yeah so would you say this there's a sense of loss uh 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 it was 15 years after dad's death that mom got married again 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 now now let me just throw this in here let's 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's stepdad she's an adult she's got her own family he now has step grandchildren her children are his step grandchildren let's say he knows what jennifer's love language is let's say he knows that it's a physical touch and i'm just you know i'm just making this up i'm not sure that's exactly the case but let's how how comfortable do you think jennifer is with him hugging her to express love see 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's 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 in 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 love language books that are available is is there's just a unique dynamic going on in blended families that you have to be considerate of move in slowly and understand that you're going to build a relationship a little bit at a time and once both people are open to the expression of the love languages now the timing is right yeah because through the years uh i've had individuals say to me who are in a blended family who had read my book on the love languages and was really trying to apply it in all their relationships and they say you know dr chairman uh 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 i don't know what's going on 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 yeah you know foundational to what makes "The 5 Love Languages" 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 in our in our case example jennifer is nice to the man she has a great wonderful openness towards him as a friend and 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 it that way and the new stepdad's motivation is high well what has to happen there i mean this is a big lesson for anybody listening whether you're a grandparent a step parent a step sibling when you're that highly motivated person trying to love somebody who has a lower motivation than you you've got to scale 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 uh chris uh gave chris an assignment and said chris i want you to run down the street and meet you got a new neighbor moved in two doors down and uh go down and make friends with them well my guess is chris you would go down there and knock on the front door and you know when they open the door you begin a conversation but you'd stay on the front porch right what if you ran in to their living room pushed your way through and said hey i'm your new best friend and uh you know at that point everything backfires they're going who is this guy what is he about somebody called the police they don't know to trust you they don't know what you're about they don't understand your motivation you're moving into their space um see that's not that's not how you make a friend and the same thing's true in blended families the way you build love is by respecting the boundaries of where they are and you got to 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 yeah i hope uh listeners are hearing that because it is the only way it won't happen if you just push in and say i'm going to make this happen you know meet them where they are great great great uh truth uh we talk in the book about seven blended family principles for loving well uh why don't you share one or two of those as we have time in this segment yeah you know we've kind of talked indirectly around one of them i'll just i'll just put words on it again blended families are not born with a sense of familyness um your journey is what nurtures that so it's this idea that again we're going to grow the relationships over time you're 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 you're 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 necessarily want it to so principle number two patience is a virtue you know waiting on love can really be hard you're eager you want to see that happen between other people they've got to figure that out their timing their pace is going to be something that makes a difference in in 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 step family 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 into 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 and what we mean by that we talk about this in building love in building love together in blended families is if when there's stress in your home when there's strain between step family members and they're not motivated to find a way through that the marriage still is the motivator in other words you staying together you being lovingly persistent to be dedicated to one another and you're going to love your family members through all the stress of merging is what ultimately says to them you got to figure this out i mean the alternative is as a couple you quit and look if you're having step if you're some of 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 step siblings are ever gonna push through their merging struggles why would they we've now gone our separate ways so the marriage is ultimately the glue and the thing that helps other people say i've got to figure this out yeah and i think when uh the children see the parents and step parents uh loving each other encouraging each other uh positive about life uh it does give them some hope you know it does give them some motivation uh and particularly if those children are older because they want their parents to be happy you know yes and yes so uh yeah i just think that marriage is the central unit in any family and it is extremely important in a blended family that we make 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 that parents in blended families have to be a team and play to one another's strengths as biological parent and step parent try to help each other out again this this is a it's pretty intuitive you've got to be strong in your marital relationship but you also have to be strong in your parenting of the children and we spend 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 and by the way the children could be adults uh it could be that you have a 30 year old who is in need of a financial loan for you know whatever reason and the biological parents like yeah sure you know i'll float you some money and the step parents like whoa wait a minute they're 30 we don't need to be doing and now we're divided over you know how to deal with children it's the same moment in time you've got to find a way to come out together as a unified team now 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 fragileness to the family identity there's this natural divide between the biological parent and their children and the step parent and so it's fragile like you have to work hard to secure the foundation of your marriage relationship and your parenting relationship otherwise things can unravel pretty fast and in addition to that 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 certainly in the early stages as opposed to the step parent 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 step parent they're figuring out trust they're figuring out i don't know where to put you in my heart how much authority do i grant you you know 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 step parents 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 you know the unified front and parents being a one mind about things it that's important you know i'm not in a blended family my wife and i we have nine children and i i see that every day you've got to be together with this but with all the complexities then of a blended family and the struggles with the kids his hers ours 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 they do and you know sometimes i realize when i talk about this i make it sound easy and i never want to do that uh you know get on the same page okay bam we're on the same page 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 um and sometimes that means practically what does that mean well reading a book is really helpful i mean one of the things we recommend couples do is get this book read it together dialogue with another set of friends or somebody maybe a pastor but absolutely within yourself once you think of that one thing that they just said well i don't know if i agree with that and 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 again some people will need to yeah consult with a pastor or a counselor or somebody or grandma who just has a lot of life wisdom um so do whatever you have to do but get on the same page ron 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 it's there are there you walk in without a map without a blueprint and you think we got to build a house um well you just build a house right well no 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 x and y and z and oh well we didn't recognize that we didn't realize that so what what kind of building materials there's a specialization if you will in what 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 i think a lot of people are just overwhelmed by that um one of one of my hearts for blended families and the reason i'm working with family life to minister to blended families 24 7 is i really believe and 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 we're doing at family life blended is is equipping people with resources to help them make sense of their life and move through it yeah so important so you're a step parent and uh you've got this child or children who are rejecting every move you make to draw closer to them to express love to them we talked about this just a little bit earlier but but speak to that parent yeah wow 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 you're you're putting your best foot forward you're you're being kind you're extending yourself you're making sacrifices you are throwing your time energy and money into this child and the family and making 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 and it is hard to endure underneath that 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 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 expectations 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 i stay here long enough to give this a chance that's number one number two gary you and i talk in the book about lead with love and then listen for love and 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 want to know what their love language is and their dialect so that i can do things that are helpful now if if their love language is something really intimate like physical touch like we talked about earlier or quality time but they're not interested in giving me quality time well 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 you know 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've missed it uh 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 this 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 led with love not who is my neighbor like i have to love some people and don't have to love other 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 the story in the book about a stepdad who said boy my stepson you know i do everything i serve i give i do i'm even doing love language stuff and you know he never acknowledges it or gives me any credit for any of that and he was really discouraged and defeated and then one day he and his wife were having a conversation actually they were talking with me about about this love language stuff and i asked a question and i said well i'm just curious um what does he say about you to other people and all of a sudden there was this aha where they both realized that what his stepson does do he doesn't ever directly say to his 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 acknowledge directly i i'm 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 the stepdad and the biological mother in that situation both had to listen in a new way for the love comment that the child could make maybe it was a loyalty thing 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 well listen for that because that's still love it may not be the level of love you hope for but that's still love we talk about in the book not only the love languages but we talk about dialects within the languages why is that important to understand and how does that apply in a blended family yeah 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 i i learned so much from you about it's the nuances within the love language somebody has quality time that's their primary love language but within it their dialect is quality time doing activities that serve other people or it's quality time you and i walking together no distractions just having conversation if you're looking at your phone the quality time is gone you know so it's finding the specific expression of that love language for this person and that's the beauty of the 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 just in loving your spouse is unlearn the dialect of a previous spouse and learn the new one of this you know we tell the story again in the book of uh 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 thinking oh i got this i know how to do um gifts i know how to give gifts well 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 no 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 there's great wisdom in that dialect a lot of applications to that i like the story we also tell about the child whose primary love language is physical touch and the stepparent knows that and of course we mentioned earlier though so they reach out to hug them and they want to hug them and so we talk about the different dialects some of which are are more intimate than others so maybe if the child's love language is physical touch you have to start with maybe fist bumps yes and that might go for two months you 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 and the the different levels of intimacy you can kind of walk into their love language step by step let me just add on to that because that is so very important for the listeners 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 step parent did right what they did is they did not push themselves onto me they did not say i'm your new dad or i'm your new mom they did not say you must call me mom they did not you know force love in on me and and what they did do these people will tell me is they just let me figure them out they gave me space that'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 it'll deepen it'll it'll move something out we won't fist bump forever but for now that's what we're doing isn't that part of what the struggle is for the parent is a fear that they're not going to love me they're not going to accept me they're not going to call me mom they're not going to you know whatever the the problem is and that fear instead of the trust you know instead of just kind of relaxing and being content with whatever level the child wants to respond you know that's there's something secret in that sauce yes fear always makes us uh panic and panic never helps us love the way christ wants us to love so recognizing that in yourself and saying i've got to calm that fear i can't let that dictate how i respond to this child and i do have to trust not you know not necessarily in the child but i've got to 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 ron what are some of the special circumstances when the blended family is also an intercultural family that we kind of jokingly say is a blended blended family yes they're blending cultures they're blending people and family and traditions and relationships so it adds a whole nother 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 uh an italian background you have different expressions of love and conflict you know and how you speak to those things and 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 if we're not hugging if we're not all having big loud boisterous conversations then we're not family well that's true in your italian family background but that's not necessarily true in somebody uh with a different 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 one of the one of the tips you can do is help educate the kids and yourself have family meetings and conversation over dinner you know hey have you guys noticed i like to be loud you know and the kids are going yeah you do i don't know what that's all about but yeah well this is where it comes from my grandmother boy could she put up and you get that stuff out and you talk it around it and you say and i've kind of put on you the expectation that you guys would join me in that or that you would understand that i'm really not angry at you all the time that i just sound angry sometimes please forgive me for that i'm working on that um 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 yeah apologizing for our missteps and our misstatements can also be really healthy in a blended family or in a non-blended family for that matter yes yeah we talk about that the blended family there are loyalty conflicts or love conflicts uh again just explain what that is and how do we how do we overcome that it's the feeling that i have a special place in my heart for somebody 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 do i make room for somebody new so imagine you know a 12 year old kid who deeply loves his dad and his mom mom and dad are divorced but i don't care and 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 who's entered my world and she you know is a great person that's kind of my problem uh i love my mother and i like my stepmom i don't want my mom to think see you that's the loyalty conflict i don't want my mom to think that i don't love her anymore or that somehow i'm loving my stepmother more than her so a child will often in that situation hold back on really moving toward the stepmother like i i'm holding back to send the message to my mom that i still love her most and i'm holding back to send the message to my stepmom that no it's not that easy you can't just walk into my heart that's a loyalty conflict it's very common it's in fact it's predictable for children that they would experience that the beautiful thing that adults can do is give a child permission to not have to break their lo their loyalty conflict for the stepmother to say to this child i love you it's okay if you like me or love me and i'll leave that up to you we'll figure this out together but what you don't have to do is stop loving your mom in fact i want you to continue honoring your mom loving your mom spending time with your mom i'm going to help your relationship with your mom i'm never going to compete with that i'm going to help you compete with that that's a message that frees the child up and says oh well you're kind of cool about all this and now that just made you attractive ron we've talked a little bit about grandparenting stepchildren let's touch on that topic again because i know their grandparents are out there listening now how do i relate to my step grandchildren yeah they're eager to build relationship and and move into the child's heart and life and and if you're a grandparent who has a great relationship with your grandchildren well you just naturally want to have a relationship with your step grandchildren although i have to just comment you know the circumstances surrounding you becoming a step-grandparent do make a difference you know it could be that your adult child made some very poor decisions and you don't feel good about any of those things and now the consequences are that somewhere down the road they're now in a blended family and so this has 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 we're at and this child deserves an influence somebody with a godly christian point of view and i'm going to try to be that now you still have to figure out a relationship the child's going to have to figure out where to put you and how to work you into their heart and so you're going to navigate that over time another factor here in grandparenting has to do with that middle generation your the 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 you know all along we've talked about this concept of pacing and that certainly would apply in this situation right it does it does it's that same principle that step parents have to apply you're knocking on the front door you're you're uh by the way one of the other p's we talk about in step parenting is pursuing a relationship with the child and so you're 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 what you're trying to do is build enough trust in them that they go yeah i'm opening the door and you can come in it just can be longer to get there than you really want yeah right our time's almost gone but you mentioned the five p's of the step parenting and you mentioned one of them pursue just briefly mentioned the others yeah so pursue pace with patience that's number three patience 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 whole lot of prayer yes um you know that's god give me the strength to continue on this path i don't see it happening it's not happening fast enough for me it's frustrating whatever the case may be or maybe it's full of blessing but there's still more that you're hoping for either way wrap it up in prayer let god help you well ron this has been a great conversation and i did it really did enjoy writing this book with you and i really believe that it's going to be a tool that blended families can use that will enhance the loving relationship within that family so thanks for being with us today and thanks for working with me on this project thank you well if you'd like it for yourself or maybe there's someone as you've listened today someone you know in your own family someone you worked with oh go to five love languages dot com send them the link so that they can hear this conversation as well as see the book building love together in blended families "The 5 Love Languages" and becoming step family smart again just go to five love languages dot com and next week uncovering the love of jesus and preparing our hearts to celebrate what he achieved for us asherita choo-choo joins us to talk about lent in one week big thank you to our production team steve wick and janice backing and helping out in little rock keith lynch Building Relationships with dr gary chatman is a production of moody radio in chicago in association with moody publishers a ministry of moody bible institute thanks for listening you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 20:07:24 / 2023-08-20 20:24:50 / 17

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