More and more families are becoming blended families which means that parents are remarrying and children and gaining new step parents. This can also mean some rocky roads ahead. Blended families rarely mesh together easily and seamlessly, there is usually a great deal of adjustment and often a lot of conflict. Step children may be resentful to the new parent, feeling that the step parent wants to take the biological parent’s place. Children can become surly, depressed and combative. They may act out at home or at school causing their parents a great deal of stress and worry. This is normal, but that knowledge does not make the transition any easier. These tips, however, might.

Don’t expect to bond overnight.

I can take a blended family years to bond. Don’t rush it and don’t push the child to accept you. If you are having trouble with your step child not accepting you, take a step back and allow them to guide the relationship. Once they see that you will be there no matter what, they will be much more likely to accept you and warm up to you. The key, though, is that you don’t try to rush the relationship. Allow it to grow, nurture it and take it easy.

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Life certainly has its challenges, but little compares to the monumental task of healing from infidelity. As a marriage therapist for two decades, I’ve heard countless clients confess that the discovery of an affair was the lowest, darkest moment of their entire lives. And because affairs shatter trust, many seriously contemplate ending their marriages in divorce after infidelity occurs.

However, it’s important to know that, no matter how bleak things might seem, it’s possible to revitalize a marriage wounded by infidelity. It’s not easy- there are no quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions to save a marriage from divorce- but years of experience has taught me that there are definite patterns to what people in loving relationships do to bring their marriages back from the brink of disaster.

Let the healing begin…

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couple-young-blackIn the daily stresses of life a marriage requires coordination between two people to achieve the best outcome. This doesn’t always happen so then there are conflicts that come up, it’s going to happen, there is no avoiding it. With two humans in a household there will be different opinions about situations but this doesn’t mean there’s a marriage problem at hand.

These marriage problems generally become problems when the couple can’t handle the issues coming at them, whether it’s a non-resolution issue or if the problem stays there for too long. These happen when there has become a lack of good communication between the partners, which then escalates to not being able to work together on problems.

When many couples hit this breaking point they will usually try to work things out, but without the communication skills to listen and objectively resolve problems, feelings get hurt and many times these marriage problems can’t be resolved. This often times leaves couples with one of two options: to seek out a marriage counselor, or to divorce.

By going to counseling for marital problems a couple may feel they are getting a legitimate option to divorce. But the problem is they usually wait too long before asking for help to saving marriage is spite of the help of the counselor. The reason is because they expect the counselor to fix the marriage and that’s not really how it works, but they don’t understand that.

There is only success in the counseling scenario if both spouses can take responsibility for what they’ve done to cause the melt down in the marriage, and have the strength and willingness to work to fix these problems. If a couple is willing to do this type of work they may have a cheaper alternative to going to marriage counseling. Some tools, like books and tapes, may give the partners the information they need to move through the issues just as effectively.


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My nickname is “The TechnoRev” and for good reason.  I love technology.  I’m MAC’ed out and glad about it.  There is, however, a dark side to the insatiable thirst for gadgets.  For too many techno geeks their “family and friends” time and the quality of that time suffers.  The problem is serious enough to have drawn the attention of psychiatrists and sociologists.  They report that our culture’s social interaction skills and the associated benefits of building strong family and friend bonds are suffering because we are so into the electronic gadgets.

You know its true.  How many times have you made comments to others after watching and maybe even being irritated by people so into their smart phones, IPods, IPads (in the spirit of being unbiased) Android devices and Blackberrys that you said things like “what did we do before these phones?”   Actually, that is a very good question.  Work still got done; meetings were still attended and deadlines were met long before smartphones and even “aahhem” computers were available.  What is also true is there were more conversations at the dinner table?  What’s a dinner table you ask?  Precisely!  Board games and other interaction activities filled our leisure time.  We knew each other better and our families were stronger because of that fact.

Recently, I was invited to sit with a family as they processed the passing of their father.  I was prepared for an atmosphere of sadness and was ready to offer my professional consoling services.  When I arrived they all greeted me at the door with much love and happiness.  They showed me to the living room and asked me to sit with them.  Immediately, I saw the big screen TV, and almost as immediately, I was fidgety because it was not on.  Well technically, it was on but as a music player offering a constant stream of background music.

I started feeling electronically claustrophobic.  I felt like I was suffering from information blindness.  The screen was black except for the little icon that danced around the screen like the old Pac man video game.   My anxiety only lasted for a few minutes.  For soon all their family members gather in the same room and started talking.  They didn’t talk about their deceased father, nor get into a long dirge about his suffering.  Instead they told their stories.  Hours passed as they recounted delightful, funny, revealing and most entertaining tales that really comprised a kind of oral history of their lives together.   These people had been friends of mine for years.  But, I learned more about them in one evening than in all the other times we’d gone to dinner, the movies and other activities combined.

During the entire evening the only tears shed were the by-products of raucous laughter.  They recounted their childhood mischief; their science projects gone arwy, the common antics practiced by all children, and the well-known secrets their parents just knew were safe.  They celebrated each other’s victories and found some good even in the challenging setbacks and tragedies that were all a part of their family’s lore.  It was only when we got a glimpse of the wall clock reminding us that tomorrow was but 5 minutes away that we mutually agreed to call it a night.  As we made our way to the door you could still hear those satisfied sighs, the postscript chuckles produced by remembering again the stories just told.

What are your stories?  Do your children know your family history?   Take a vacation from TV, computers, smartphones, Wii, Xbox, and all other electron requiring devices and tell your stories.  The laughter will be medicine to your body, joy to your spirit and a glue that will keep your families together.  I hope this helps.

Popularity: 15% [?]

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