Recently, I was asked to prepare a 10 minute talk for the community residence that my son resides in stressing the importance of communication. For this particular talk my task at hand was to highlight the importance of the staff and family relationship, and suggest ways on improving communication. The more I sat and thought about it, the more I realized that it isn’t just in this setting that communication may need tweaking. I started thinking about the relationship I have with my son’s father, and also with my step children’s mother. We have the communication thing down pat… now we do, but in the past not so much, which made me think of all the blended families out there that don’t have it down and don’t even know where to start to fix it.
When we didn’t communicate it was simply because we didn’t know how to. Ridiculous right? I mean we learn how to communicate as young as the newborn stage, so not knowing is not acceptable but unfortunately in this instance it is the truth. When things end in an ugly manner, resentment and uneasy feelings come hand in hand, and your ex-spouse is the last person on earth that you want to speak to.
When I started dating my husband, he was fresh out of his relationship so naturally when he and I started dating I became the enemy in the eyes of his ex-wife. In the beginning she wanted to meet me especially considering that I would be spending a majority of my time with her children, so hoping to start things out on the right foot I happily obliged. From that point on we had our moments where it was okay, and we did well but then we also had our moments where it got ugly and my husband and I questioned how we would ever manage. We all did our share of yelling, and name calling, as well as accusing, talking to one another was not our strong point. As far as my ex and my communication, it was quite similar, communication was not our strong point so we stayed away from it as much as possible.
Fast forward to now, and we have what seems like a good rhythm going. As far as communication with my stepchildren’s mother goes: my husband discusses the important things with her, if there is a change in medicine, school changes, medical issues, etc. I handle the day to day with her but everything has to go through my husband, I make no decisions. For us, this works. With my son’s father, I do a bulk of the communicating with his girlfriend as he much like my husband works a lot, but again big things are discussed directly between the two of us. Again, this is what works for us.
There was no magic pill, or grand cure that fixed our problems. It really was just a change in the way we decided to handle the situations. Some aspects of our communication came easier than others, and it is something that will always be a work in progress.
One thing that I found helpful is I started a binder, for both my son and my step children. It is my communication binder. I put important papers that need to be copied in, report cards, schedules, etc. I also keep a running log of things that I need to send to them, or inform them of. I had contemplated on sending the binder back and forth between homes but for us I think just giving them their own copies of paperwork work. But, for other families a binder such as mine way work with being sent back and forth.
I had tried doing update letters, and creating calendars on a month to month basis, but recently with an ever-changing schedule for our situation it doesn’t necessarily make sense to do that. Also, we all are in a pretty good place and communication isn’t something that makes us cringe, which is a bonus. However, for those who can’t get past communicating with one another options such as these would be beneficial.
Now, although everything is in a good stance for us now, we are human and we still have our moments where we get mad or bothered with one another. For my husband and I we have a few tips for this, and these are things that we actually remind one another of if we know the other is going into a possible hostile situation.
Thanks for reading, Questions or comments? I would love to hear your feedback, please comment below!