Building An Emotional Bridge To Your Children

1 May

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about building an emotional bridge to your children.}

I have a close friend who is in the throws of parenting. He has two children ages 11 and 14 from a previous marriage and now two small children ages 1 and 3 with his present partner. You can begin to imagine the challenges that he faces every day. The weekends are over-the-top difficult as he tries to balance the demands of two very different family dynamics with extremely varied requirements. The young teenagers’ needs as opposed to those of the toddlers are rather foreboding. Even in a regular setting where our toddlers slowly grow into their teenage life we have significant challenges trying to orient ourselves to their rapidly expanding consciousness. Keeping up with it is most difficult. How in the world does one do it with essentially two different families and only one body? If this dad (and a wonderful dad he is) would have had the understanding to build an emotional bridge to his first two children before his two new ones came along he would have a significantly better chance to stay above water. Now he goes under regularly. It is nobody’s fault exactly; it is just an extra-ordinary situation, although less and less uncommon with the increase in blended families.

Building an emotional bridge to our children while they’re young is a conscious thing we can do. This bridge can make the kind of connection that will serve us beautifully when our kids inevitably undergo their chameleon behavior as teenagers. They will likely leave us in the dust as they peel out of their childish past. But the emotional bridge work we do before that may, at least, allow us to stay in contact during the more serious events that will surely unfold.

If you come from a blended family, or are working on building your own, how do you deal with these pressures?

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