Archive for June 6th, 2007

June 6, 2007

A reader writes on blended families…

by Rod Smith

“My second marriage did not withstand the pressures of blending a family. I recommend professional family counseling for all who try. The divorce rate amongst couples with children from previous marriages outpaces the horrendous rate of first time marriages.

“My stepson viewed me as the enemy. I represented the deathblow to his fantasy that somehow his parents would reconcile. Children very often feel as if the divorce was their fault, and, as irrational as that may be, it is what they feel. It’s important step-parents understand that the child is projecting all of the rage, fear, and heartbreak outwardly towards the new scapegoat.

“Many parents feel guilty about their divorces, and so have unhealthy boundaries with their children. They overcompensate, or do not expect enough. This creates fuel for a fire that is going to rage anyway. Anyone who has raised teenagers understands that this may be one of the most challenging times in the family life.

“As difficult as it may be to hear, blending families rarely works. If one has the option I would suggest separate living arrangements. It doesn’t mean that the relationship can’t continue, but I would remove myself from the dynamics of the parent/child/ex-spouse and regain a sense of self and peace.” (Edited for space)