Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Life in the Slow Lane: Don’t just press ‘mix’ when blending families

ValerieFrankelW

By
From page A3 | June 11, 2014 |

My household is loud, and involves more meal planning, chore charts and trips to Costco than I could ever imagine. And yes, people think we are crazy. But “it’s our crazy,” I explain, and it’s a choice I made.

Sure, I never planned on having six kids — but here I am living in a blended family.

For those who are wondering what a blended family means, it’s when two people with children from previous relationships all live together, otherwise known as The Brady Bunch.

However, unlike The Brady Bunch, most blended families don’t come with someone to do the laundry and cook (if only that were true). What’s true is this is hard, hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart.

From a kid’s perspective, here are two adults creating a new family for him that he may or may not be so thrilled about. Then, to top it off, the new couple may decide to have children together. So, this kid has the potential to have step-siblings, a step-parent, a new home and possibly a baby added to the mix … and he is supposed to be happy about this?

Oh, one more thing to add — this kid may be experiencing all of this blended family stuff twice if both of his parents remarry someone with children.

From an adult’s perspective, blending families often leaves one asking, “How do I do this?” And it’s possible their friends are saying, “Why are you doing this?”

It’s simple — you find someone you love, and at a certain age, many folks come with kids as a package deal. The odds are high when someone with kids ventures out to date again that the person he or she finds will have kids as well.

The “how” of blending is a little more complicated. Joining two families needs to be done with intention, not by throwing everyone in a blender and pressing “mix.” Taking things slowly, understanding the needs of each person in the family, and getting kids some extra support if necessary should all be part of the process.

Even if the kids aren’t living with a parent full-time, blending a family impacts them. Is the child who has never shared a bedroom now going to have a step-sibling for a roommate? Are the step-siblings now faced with sharing a class at school?

Depending on each kid’s age, the impact of these situations will vary. But their stress can be lessened by having empathy for their experiences, open communication and patience. Note: An extra helping of patience will come in handy when “You’ve ruined my life!” is heard for the first time. No one enjoys that moment!

Intention also means that the entire family tries to have compassion and understanding as everyone adjusts to each other and the environment. No one in the mix is used to living with each other. Family meetings and time one-on-one with each child can help.

Even though therapy is my business, I had no idea what I was getting into when we all moved in together. And although I wouldn’t undo it, I am still searching for that extra helping of patience.

— Valerie Frankel, MFT, is a licensed therapist in private practice who lives in Davis with her family. Her column is published monthly. Reach her at vfrankel@gmail.com

Comments

comments

Valerie Frankel

.

News

 
Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

 
Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yoga and chanting workshop planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weir honored, a year early

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

For a good cause

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

 
Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The magic is long gone

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
What’s next with Ebola?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

More theories on the abstention

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Rights beget responsibilities

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Water returns to its source

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
A solution to the drought

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Experience nature’s treasures

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Subs have other concerns

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks suffer from road woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

 
Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

Lewis Melvin Dudman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ann Foley Scheuring

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B3