Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Parent to Parent: Real Life Brady Bunch
At least one-third of all children in the U.S. are expected to live in a step-family by the time they reach the age of 18. So what's the best way to go about blending two families? In today's Parent To Parent, Seven's Lynn Martinez gives us some advice for a smoother transition.
WSVN -- The Brady Bunch Movie: "The Brady bunch, the Brady bunch."
Very few will forget that beaming, blended perfect family known as The Brady Bunch in the popular 1970s TV series. If bringing two families together were only that simple. Just ask the Pineda family:
Carolina Pineda: "How many kids do I have? I have three of my own, he has three, we have one of ours."
That makes a total of seven kids, and that makes for a whole lot of chaos!
Carolina Pineda: "Of course, at the moment, you're in love, and you don't think all these problems are going to come swing by later on, you know, jealousy, your mom, my mom, ex-s you have to deal with."
Seven's parenting expert Dr. Valerie Goode says there is a lot to consider before blending two families together.
Dr. Valerie: "The interesting thing about the Brady Bunch is that you never saw any ex-spouses, so that made the Brady Bunch very sweet."
That's not always the case. That's why Dr. Valerie says it's critical to put the children's feelings first. They can sense tension, so make a concentrated effort to get along with the ex-spouse.
Dr. Valerie: "You know, we don't just get divorced. We're splitting up whole families."
Sit down and talk to your kids about your plans to re-marry. Ask them how they feel about it. Remember, it's going to take time for a child to develop a relationship with a step-parent.
Dr. Valerie: "You just want to take it very slowly, and let them have their own relationship, and try not to be involved."
Dr. Valerie also suggests creating a family plan. Discuss holidays and where the kids will spend them, and, once a week, come together to voice any concerns.
Dr. Valerie: "Depending how you react with it, will determine how happy you are with it, and the children will pretty much follow what you do."
The Pinedas admit it hasn't been easy bringing two families together, but they wouldn't have it any other way.
Carolina Pineda: "There's always noise, there's always laughter, there's always joy in the house."
Lynn Martinez: "Another important tip, let the biological parent remain the disciplinarian until the step-parent has created a solid bond with the child.
If you want to talk about this or any other parenting issue, Dr. Valerie wants to hear from you, so please e-mail her at: email@example.com.