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Blended Families

A few years ago I wrote an article on Blended Families for several of my parishioners/clients, and HarperCollins published it as a chapter in a little book I wrote…


It’s probably a bit dated here and there, and also a little more conservative than I am now, but if you or anyone here has some qualifications/modifications/additions/deletions to suggest, I’d be happy to add them to the article…

(We’re experiencing a sort-of ‘blended family’ for the first time as our son and a grandson live with us while their family is splitting up – all so sad…)

Response from a perceptive friend:

G’day Rowland,

One thing your chapter doesn’t seem to mention (and neither did the Brady Bunch) is that most kids in blended families these days share their time between two houses, maybe two blended families. Then add in some step grandparents and other relatives …

It can all be very rich – my wife’s late mother was pleased to add to her one granddaughter, for example.

But there is the tough side too. For me, Sunday afternoon is always a huge wrench when my girls go back to their mother, and I forego the day-to-day contact until their next visit. They are great kids and generally deal with stuff really well, but sometimes they get upset too. Some random thoughts:

* Talking on the phone helps but is not the same as face-to-face, much less actually living together.

* I find that being present at little occasions like school assembly or minor performances helps to show genuine support during the separate time.

* At the handover, I try not to show emotion. I don’t want to make it worse for them, and I don’t want them to worry that I will be miserable.

* On the other hand, it can be unhealthy to close down emotionally or to seem detached.

* With my ex and our particular relationship, I need to strenuously avoid getting into an argument at handover.


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