How to Manage a Growing Family

There are fewer things more exciting than a growing family. Having kids is the ultimate way to build a legacy that will outlive you by a long time. One thing is for certain, parenting sure has changed over the decades. Family dynamics are much more intricate and complex, and there are more blended families than ever before. Not to mention, many couples are waiting until later in life to have children than ever before. Change is constant, and there are many reasons for these drastic changes, but one thing remains the same, and that’s the need to have a plan for your growing family.

Too often, we see the negative effects of couples who fail to plan their family’s growth. A harsh and unfortunate reality is that many couples don’t even want the children they bring into the world. It’s an easy predicament for people to find themselves in, but it’s one that can turn out to be pure hell for the child. If you and your partner are working on your family planning and need some tips on deciding what’s best for you and the family you’re planning, this article might be exactly what you need.

You might need a bigger boat.

You’ve probably heard this iconic line, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” from the movie “Jaws,” even if you’ve never seen the movie. In the scene, the fictional character, Chief Brody, is telling the captain of the small fishing vessel they’re on that he’s going to need something bigger to bring in the gargantuan great white.

Well, if you and your spouse are living in a home only large enough for the two of you, then you’re going to need something larger to suit the needs of the family you’re planning.

If your family needs a new home, it’s best to start getting ready at least a year in advance. So much goes into the home buying process that it might take a year or more to get into a new home, so the earlier you start preparing, the better.

The first thing you need to do when you decide you’re going to buy a home is to start saving up for a down payment. When it comes to the down payment, the rule of thumb is that you should pay between 10% and 20% of the home’s value upfront. The average home value in the U.S. is just over $200,000, but you also have to consider what the housing market is like in your city and the type of home your family needs. At any rate, you should save up at least $20,000 before you start looking for a new home.

The next step in the home buying process is getting a home loan. Your eligibility for home loans, as well as your monthly payments and interest rate, will all be determined by your credit score. In the same way, you should start saving, planning, working on your credit score for a home at least a year ahead of time.

The more qualified you are as a borrower, the easier it will be for you to get a mortgage loan, and the lower your interest rate will be. During the qualification process, lenders will take a close look at your credit history, employment history, and bank statements to make sure your credit and finances are acceptable.

It takes anywhere from days to months to hear from lenders. The best way to ensure fast home loan pre-approval is to make sure you have all of your paperwork filled out correctly, down payment ready, and credit history in good standing. All buyers want to get as much house as possible for their buck, but only the prepared ones actually do.

If you’re blending families, it’s best to make sure your children are okay with the transition.

It can be hard to find love again after a long relationship goes south, especially when you have children from a previous relationship. Children who are having trouble coping with their parents separating will be much less accepting of a new stepparent.

When you begin a relationship with someone who has children, you have to be prepared for the fact that your partner’s child might not like you. You also have to be realistic about whether you’re ready to be a stepparent. You won’t have the same parent-child relationship that other parents have with their children. Can you live with that? These are all things you have to consider before blending families or stepping into a parenting role in a family that’s already begun.

If you and your partner’s child hit it off famously, then you may want to consider second parent adoption. Second parent adoption is when you become the child’s legal guardian—the child may even adopt your last name—without the child’s biological parent forfeiting their parental rights.

While you, the child, and your partner may love the idea, you need to make sure that the child’s other biological parent is okay with it as well. The last thing you want to bring into the child’s life is strife between you and their other parent. You should never put a child in a place where they may feel like they have to choose between two people they love.

Societal pressure on same-sex couples and parenting.

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As much as society has grown and changed over the last hundred or so years, not enough has changed that society accepts all people equally. Interracial relationships and same-sex couples often still have uphill battles to fight with their families, friends, and strangers who should be unaffected by their union.

Because people are so closed-minded, same-sex couples have to think extra long and hard about bringing children into their relationship. Straight couples have a hard enough time helping their children to navigate peer pressure and bullying. Same-sex parents are more likely to have to deal with their children getting bullied in school along with the societal pressures unique to gay parents.

Same-sex couples looking to adopt but unsure whether or not they’re ready for all life may throw at them should seek relationship therapy before advancing with the adoption process. Ultimately, you need to be sure that you and your partner are in a healthy mental space so you can share your love and happiness with a deserving child.

Work out any parenting differences between you and your spouse before you have children.

One of the gravest mistakes that couples make is thinking that children are the solution to their relationship problems. As hard as it might be for parents to admit, bringing kids into a dysfunctional relationship usually makes things worse, and above all, they’re doing a disservice to the child.

It’s selfish to put the responsibility of saving your relationship on an infant. If you’re considering parenthood as a means of improving your relationship with your spouse, then you’re getting into it for all the wrong reasons.

In fact, you should discuss beliefs about parenting when you discuss having kids. Would you rather send your kids to a public school or a private Catholic High School? That’s not the conversation you want to have when you’re trying to figure out where to send your kid to for their freshmen year. That’s an issue that’s much better worked out well in advance.