Blended (Step) Families Community
When you blend families, you are performing alchemy: turning metal into gold. Your chances of success are better than the alchemists' of the Middle Ages and this community can make it even better. Each of us has to find our own formula, one day at a time. Just when you figure out one formula, new challenges will appear. Different metal to transmute into gold. When you decided to move two families into one house, you were aware of the challenges and felt that each family would benefit from the merger. But sometimes the view from inside makes us feel that everyone is losing. The loss of freedom of choice, loss of privacy, space, individuality and autonomy.
Q Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am a 46-year-old male who is about to be remarried. My fiance is divorced with an 11-year-old daughter. The court has awarded joint custody to my fiance and her ex-husband (one week with one, the next with the other). My problem is that the ex-husband is threatening the child with loss of love if the daughter chooses to live with her mother. The daughter has said that to both my fiance and me. It appears now that the daughter is being used as a pawn against my fiance.
Don't change the furniture! Don't even move it around. And don't throw anything away. That was the advice I read before marrying a widower with four kids. I think it served me well. When I found myself abandoned by my first husband, a few years under 40 years old with three very young daughters, I was desperate to remarry. I wanted two things -- a committed father for my children and a relationship for me. So I looked for someone who had the ability to commit. I found a widower who had nursed his first wife at home until she died.
I am a divorced father with three boys. My youngest is 11. He is the subject of this request. My girlfriend has two children, the youngest of whom is also an 11-year-old boy. My girlfriend is a wonderful, caring mother. I feel I am a caring father. My son is very small for his age, so I am not used to him being a bully of any kind. My girlfriend's son is bigger and more physical than my son and tends towards being very active. My son says mean things to him, like that he's retarded, or that I really don't like him, just his mom. He gets upset, runs to tell his mom, who then gets furious with me and my son.
Dear WholeFamily, I'm a divorced man with a son age 11. I have fallen in love with a wonderful divorced mother of two daughters with "divorce baggage". She has a very troubled daughter and I suggested to my friend that she should go into therapy. Now she feels I'm intrusive for suggesting it and wants to break off the relationship. I love this person and her daughters for sharing so much wonderful time with my son and me, but now she's angry and doesn't want to see me.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have been remarried for almost two years. We both have teenagers. I am very easy going, but when it comes to bathing, it is a must. My kids have to shower and wash their hair everyday, yet when my husband's kids are over, two girls, 13 and 16, he does not make them bathe every day or wash their hair. This upsets me so much. I would think they would want to do this. He says it is not important to him, but it is to me. My husband gets upset if the kids do not rinse out their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband dislikes the company of my son. My son wants to come visit me for my birthday. My husband told me that when my son comes to visit, he would go out for the day, as he doesn't want to be in my son's company. #1- What do I tell my son, who I know is going to ask me where my husband is? #2- Am I being unreasonable in expecting my husband to "grow up" and deal with it? I told him that when people get married they sometimes do things they may not be comfortable with out of love and respect for the other person.
Welcome to the interactive drama and traumas of a new stepfamily! Find out how Pamela Austen, a British divorcee with two children and Joseph Kutchinsky, a widower from Long Island with three kids, struggle to make their remarriage work while they deal with family problems like drugs, teen sex, school difficulties, job hassles, sibling love and hate and marital blow-ups. Help them solve their problems (and in the process, maybe your own!)...
Learn how to express yourself through letter writing- using proven techniques for creating positive relationships.
Join the Austen-Kutchinskys as they struggle to make their new blended family work.
Listen to others struggle with the marital and child-rearing challenges that stump us all.
Need help with substance abuse, divorce, eating disorders, school failure, teen pregnancy, moving, depression? Visit the Crisis CenterFun and educational activities for the whole family.
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