Today’s episode is an interview with Melissa Valder, a woman who grew up in a blended family and is passionate about sharing her story and insights with families now going through the experience themselves. The blended family experience from the child’s point of view offers insight into how our children may process this journey later as adults.
As Melissa reflects on her parent’s divorce, remarriages, custody arrangement, and communication, she recognizes the things that impact her still today – both as challenges and strengths. Children learn through their parents and how they handle situations, and the children of blended families are no different.
Today, Melissa and I will talk about the challenges she faced growing up in a blended family and what she’d say to her parents of 20 years ago knowing what she knows now. She’ll also give some tips on how to better handle adult conversations, money management involving the kids, and communication with your co-parent – even if you don’t like them.
00:45 – 05:00 – Introducing today’s topic: A child’s experience within a blended family
05:00 – 11:00 – Melissa’s relationship with the members of her blended family
11:00 – 16:00 – The beauty of a step-parent’s role and how your child might feel
16:00 – 21:30 – How Melissa processed the struggles she faced within a blended family
21:30 – 28:00 – The dynamic she witnessed between her parents and step parents
28:00 – 35:00 – Taking care of yourself and the good/bad of custody arrangements
35:00 – 41:30 – Choosing to learn from your experiences whether good or challenging
- Relationship struggles are natural between parent and child – and that includes step-parents, too.
- Kids can’t process the complexities of adult problems and relationships.
- Step-parents have the opportunity to have a beautiful, unique position in a child’s life.
- Keep your child out of adult disagreements and money conversations.
- Find a healthy way to communicate co-parenting agreements that isn’t through the child.
- The beliefs we have as adults are built in our childhood.
- Your children are learning from you and how you communicate.
- Your connection with your ex isn’t necessarily over when your kids turn 18.
- Find a way to communicate with your co-parent about boundaries and parenting.
- Don’t see your ex as an opponent, see them as another member of your child’s team.
- Take care of yourself to show up better for your kids.
- You can take the best out of challenging experiences in life – and so can your kids.
- “I’ve come to realize that everyone was going through their own pain and coping with what happened.”
- “Having an adult in your life who has your back that isn’t a parent is a really special thing.”
- “I’m coming into myself and seeing the good things from the relationships around me.”
3 Interesting Clips:
- 11:04 – 11:26 – On the role a step-parent can take.
- 20:27 – 20:51 – On growing up and processing the things from the past.
- 25:30 – 25:57 – On being in your kid’s corner.
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