“Blending a Family,” Ensign, Dec. 1993, 63–64
When I married a widower six years ago, I was faced with the challenge of forging one family from two—his six children and my one—who ranged in age from one to eleven. The first year consisted of trials and tears as I adjusted to the children, the children adjusted to a new mother, and we all adjusted to a new home, school, and ward.
Although we still have normal family challenges, we are gradually becoming a unified family. Here are some successful guidelines that have helped us.
Even before the two of you discuss your wedding date, discuss your family goals and expectations. Showing parental unity does not mean that you will always agree with each other’s methods, but it does depend on your discussing your differences privately until you come to a mutual understanding.
Allow the children to love their absent parent. Avoid saying negative things about the absent parent.
Continue existing family traditions while creating new ones. Children need the familiarity of cherished traditions.
Love the children wholeheartedly.
Do not show favoritism.
Show your love by deed as well as word.
Don’t be afraid to say no, but say it kindly. If children are confident of your love for them, they are much more accepting of parental authority.
Don’t expect instant acceptance.
Have a gospel-oriented home. Learning about Christ and trying to live by his example can create a great environment in any home.
Look to Heavenly Father. Take your problems and frustrations about your new parental role to the One who knows all, our Father in Heaven. Pray for the softening of hearts. Pray for acceptance. Pray for those little miracles that the Lord can endow. Pray and give thanks when he blesses you beyond your expectations.—R. Kaiulani Chai Unga, Nuku‘Alofa, Tonga