Question About The Blended Family

Real Relationship Advice

We hear lots of stories of divorce and remarriage. We hear of the attempt to unite two families or introduce kids to step parents and step siblings. These issues are not new. Heck, we were watching Brady Bunch back in the early 70’s where they were dealing with the same issues. Yes, Carol and Mike were widowers but the melding of two families is just as poignant as it was back then as it is now. And, yes, divorce adds a deeper wrinkle to the creation of a new family dynamic. We also need to consider the dynamics of adoptive children with birth children since adoption is more common than ever!

All these new relationships have taken on a life of their own within the media as well. Harkening back to fairy tales, we have evil step mothers and siblings. We have horror stories of Step Parents in film from serial killers to the threat of sending the poor kid to boarding school. These images and themes sink into the very fabric of our collective unconscious.  We worry about blending families where there are boys and girls with an age disparity because of the possible sexual implications and, god forbid, you marry a man when you have teenage daughters!

The following question came from our Facebook page:

I have been married for 10 years. This is my second marriage as well as my wife’s. We each had daughters from previous marriages and we had two kids of our own (son and daughter). Our oldest, her daughter, is getting married and being pressured to include her birth fathers family to be part of everything even though he has never shown much interest in her. I hate to see her so frustrated and stressed but I have no real voice in this. My wife does not want to get involved either to not create more problems. How can we counsel our daughter?

I am so sorry she is going through this. As I have written about so many times before, some people assume that biology gives us rights. Sure, legally it does but morally and ethically it does not. This is why we carry so many confusing beliefs. Our heart knows who we love and to whom we are loyal but our head looks at family trees and complicated genograms and creates these perplexing lines of responsibility that children have no choice but to be confused.

Your daughter needs to set some boundaries for herself now. Her birth father’s family claims of parentage and automatic voice in her decisions need to be cut. She wants to please everyone and will be sorely disappointed in her results because she will be disappointing everyone including herself. This is a trend that needs to be cut now. I would suggest you tell her simply, ‘Do whatever makes you happy!’ A real parent only wants their child’s happiness; everything else is window dressing and frivolous pride.           Ultimately, she will see that the real support she received in her wedding preparations were those very wise words.

Good luck!

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