Ep 44 - Navigating a blended family, with Laura Jenkins
Having grown up in a blended family and now a decade into raising one of her own, Laura is passionate about helping blended families thrive. She is host of ‘In The Blend’, a podcast which brings together experts to help parents navigate a whole range of topics relating to blended families (everything from new partners to juggling mixed finances) - and the unique dynamics, logistics and challenges associated.
Outside of In The Blend, Laura is a marketing director with over 20 years of experience and also a certified executive and organisational coach. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her Brady Brunch brood and cavoodle, Louis.
Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and more.
Broadcast: December 16, 2022
Here’s a snippet of the full podcast...
Navigating the question ‘what is my role in this blended family?’
I think one of the biggest things that I came up against was this idea of, ‘what is my role in the blended family?’ Meeting someone who already has children means that there's already established traditions and there's past history that's happened before. I've arrived in the picture and what I grappled with initially was really figuring out .. is it my role to parent these young children when they're with us week on, a week off? Or is it my role to stand back and let Matt do the parenting?
Disciplining children who aren’t yours.
On the podcast recently with parenting coach Joseph Driessen his advice was 1) focus on building that connection before that correction. So really get that right bit first, and once you have built that connection and some time has passed, then you're in a position to start to potentially exert your authority where needed, but obviously doing that in a constructive way, of course.
The importance of boundaries:
Something that we have done here is to be quite deliberate about the rules in our house. My style is always to do this in a relatively soft way, but the rules in our house is something that we can control - we can't control what goes on in the other house, and we're never going to be able to control what goes on in the other house, so there's no point worrying about that. It's about - what can we control?
Advice to a woman who's navigating this in the very early days?
Stop comparing yourself to others. There is no normal family. And really be present and enjoy the relationship and whatever comes with it, all parts of it. And don't worry about what anyone else is doing or what your parents did or your friends. The second thing I would say is to stay calm and really model the behaviour that you want the kids to replicate one day as well.