Blending Families: A practical guide to negotiating the challenges that step-families face
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Imagine filling in an application form for your child's new school and realising there isn't enough space to include all the adults who play a role in the child's life. These days, 'parent' could mean birth parent, step-parent or co-parent, and the concept of 'family' goes way beyond the mythical 'mom-dad-and two kids'. Blending Families attempts to address some of the challenges of merging established family units. The focus is on the children because, whether they are 'his', 'hers' or 'theirs', it is the children who, more often than not, are responsible either directly or indirectly for the success or failure of the new family unit. Understanding how toddlers, tweens and teens perceive the new situations in which they find themselves, and their possible reactions to their new living environment, is the essence of the book. But it's not all about the children. Adults are often at their most fragile and vulnerable when forming new relationships, and the book provides valuable tools with which to resolve some of the challenges of living together in a blended family. Flicky Gildenhuys equips parents with tried-and-tested, down-to-earth psychological tools and the experience gained from decades of family counselling to manage whatever issues may arise and achieve true and lasting happiness as a new family. As a mother and step-mother herself, she understands both the joy and the turmoil that comes from having to deal with the past before one can build a foundation for the future.
the extent of interpersonal conflict that can arise between themselves and their ex-partner after a separation. After all, conflict in some form or another is probably why the separation happened in the first place. So it is not hard to understand why ex-partners find it so difficult to co-parent without friction. However, every disagreement or altercation that your child is exposed to seemingly splits him or her in two, leaving the child to deal with confusing and sometimes devastating feelings
difficult if one member of the family does not live in the household for all of the time. The child who moves in and out of the family needs a physical space in the house to call their own; their own bedroom or a special duvet to sleep under. Alternatively, either you or your partner may have joined the family without children, and may feel like an outsider at first. ‘I feel like a house guest. My wife takes care of her children, and I don’t seem to have any control over anything. I sold my
acknowledgement. It is one of the lingering societal curiosities of a less enlightened era that new step-parents are, however, often greeted with judgement, suspicion and even derision. This does not make for any easy start to the relationship. ‘His mother is so close to his children’s mother that nothing I do or say seems to be good enough for her. She hardly even acknowledges me. He tells me just to ignore her, but I feel like he is not putting me first.’ Rebecca feels that her husband is not
failure families, types of blended family nuclear family step family traditional family family belief systems and values family bonds, see Bonds, family family customs, see Rituals, traditions family dynamics family heritage family history see Family heritage family identity family meetings; family forum family of origin Family Plan family relationships biological parent/s children co-parent/s ex-partner ex-spouse see also Co-parent extended family father grandparents
Emotions; Stages of grief guardianship H house-rules I inclusion independence individuality individuation inheritance in loco parentis K, L Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth legal matters legal relationships, types of see also Marriage letting go living together loss children and loss types of loss see also Emotions M maintenance for/of children of ex-partners managing former relationships managing new relationships marriage see also Remarriage Marriage Act mediation memories