After Justin Michaels had gotten into a good co-parenting groove with his ex-wife, Chantel, he introduced her to his new girlfriend, Laurah.
“She was in nursing school at that point, and I’m a nurse, so we were talking about that,” remembers Laurah. “Chantel is one of the nicest humans ever, so, we got along from the start.”
Justin and Laurah got married, as did Chantel and Tyler. Suddenly, little Remi had a step-mom and a steo-dad added to the mix.
“The idea of the mother and the father and the nuclear family, that’s not the way kids are growing up now,” says Ruth Freeman, founder of Peace At Home Parenting Solutions.
She says “planning” can make co-parenting a whole lot easier.
“Think about – when it comes to school, who’s going to be the primary contact, who’s going to be the primary decision maker?” she suggests. “When it comes to health, who will be the primary decision maker?”
Also, take the child’s preferences into consideration and don’t give in to guilt.
“If one parent has them less, they really want to make it Disneyland every weekend,” says Freeman, noting this can create a tough dynamic.
So, help that parent feel more connected by sharing report cards and photos from sports events.
When a blended family makes it work, kids learn about healthy collaboration, cooperation and mutual respect.
“This can be a very positive experience and a lot of it has to do with how those adults are relating to each other and how well they understand what they’re child needs,” says Freeman.
“If weeks go by and we’re all busy, if we haven’t done a family dinner, we’ll find a night that works,” says Tyler.
Justin and Laurah have a baby son whole Tyler and Chantel are expecting a little girl in July. They’re a unique and successful crew, all concerned with one thing: Remi’s happiness.
“We’ll be at graduation together. We go to football games, we sit together, all the parents know us, it’s nice,” says Chantel.
“I think what we have here is as good as it gets,” says Justin.
The full interview with Freeman of Peace At Home Parenting Solutions can be viewed below: