Monday, April 23, 2012

Stepfamilies and the Fear of Replacement

This is a short video.  What do you think

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Well Blended Family

My goal is for The Well Blended Family to be a place that the 80% of blended families that don't know where to turn to for help, can turn to!

The statistics are staggering. No matter where you look, it is estimated that nearly 50% of first marriages are ending and that re-marriage divorce rates are higher - nearly 65%. We are talking tens of millions of people and families! Most people don't know where to go for help - to improve their chances of beating the odds. I know I didn't!

My name is Lisa Perry, Owner of Wellness Lifeskills Coaching. I founded The Well Blended Family to become a content-rich, go-to for people who are lost and trying to figure out how to make the new dynamics work. Over the years, my practice began filling up with more people who were in my "before" story (more on that in a later post!) and I knew I could help them out and shorten the learning curve, save them potentially thousands in court fees and more importantly, years of heartache and pain for themselves AND their children!

Learn here

Monday, April 16, 2012

Difficulties for the parent and their partner

Parents can face problems adjusting to their new family, including:

  • One or both partners may bring hang-ups and unresolved feelings from their prior failed relationship into the current situation.
  • Disciplining someone else’s child can cause resentments.
  • There could be unexpected problems with child maintenance or access visits.
  • The partners may have conflicting visions of family life or different rules for the home.
  • A parent/partner may not like their partner’s children.
  • Even positive change can be stressful.

Source: Better Health Channel - Stepfamilies


Stepfamily Australia Network Facebook Page


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Better Health Channel

The Better Health Channel (BHC) provides health and medical information that is quality assured, reliable, up to date, easy to understand, regularly reviewed and locally relevant. BHC does not have any advertising or sponsorship and is fully funded by the State Government of Victoria (Australia).

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Advantages of Stepfamilies

Some of the advantages of stepfamilies may include:

  • The child now has extra adults to care for them, as well as their parents.
  • The child has extra brothers and sisters.
  • The adults are happier in their new relationship.
  • The family members may enjoy a higher standard of living thanks to combined incomes.
  • There is an opportunity to feel part of a two-parent family again.

Source:Better Health Channel

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blend a New Baby With an Older Step Child

Blend a New Baby With an Older Step Child

For a child who is used to getting all the attention, a new sibling can seem like competition. The older child may feel left out and pressured to grow up, which can create short-term and long-term problems for both siblings and parents.

As a parent, it might be challenging to give both children the amount and the type of attention they need. However, there are several ways to make all of your children feel valued.


  1. Involve your older children before the baby is born. You will have plenty of time from when you first know that a new baby is coming until the baby actually arrives, so use it to ease the transition. Try a few of the following ideas:
    • Explain the kinds of things that will happen before, when, and after the baby is born over and over so that your child is prepared for what can be confusing times. But leave a little room for the unexpected, e.g., a baby who has to stay in the hospital for a few days or weeks.
    • Avoid giving your child the idea that the baby will be "someone to play with" or "your best friend" right away - the younger your child is, the more crucial this is.<p> Make sure your child understands that for weeks the new baby will only sleep, eat, look around, poop, pee, and cry. Be especially clear about the crying, i.e., explicitly tell your child that some babies cry a lot and that this is NOT the older child's fault or responsibility.
    • Get a baby doll and have your child practice taking care of the "baby."
    • Allow your child to come with you to prenatal appointments to listen to the baby's heartbeat. Take them to an ultrasound appointment. If you have a good friendly OB, CNP, or midwife, see if he or she will let your child "help" in some way.
    • Consider allowing your older child(ren) a say in naming the baby. This can be done by providing a list of names you wouldn't mind the baby having as a first or middle name and letting them choose the ones they really like. Ask for their input in designing and putting together the nursery. If this would work for you and your family, see if your child(ren) can attend the birth itself.
    • Read stories to your child about new babies that provide realistic descriptions about how new babies act and positive models for how older siblings should behave. Stay away from books that paint an unrealistically rosy picture or that make ambivalent feelings seem unacceptable.
    • Above all, keep all of this preparation brief, light-hearted and casual. Going on and on about it will bore some children and make others feel more anxious than prepared.
  2. Remind your child that he or she was a new baby once. Using age-appropriate and positive words, tell your child about his or her birth and what made it special. This will reassure your child of his or her importance to you, and help to make it clear why you're so excited about the new baby.
  3. Keep the child's daily routines as normal as possible before, during, and after the birth. Try to keep a sense of normalcy so your child will not feel like the new baby is changing everything. Especially try to avoid major upheavals such as potty-training or a new childcare situation right before or after the birth.
  4. Figure out positive ways for your child to interact with the baby. Your child can hold the baby (even toddlers can do this under close supervision, sitting down, with the baby on a pillow in the child's lap), sing to the new baby, try to "teach" the baby to smile, read to the new baby, and so on.
  5. Reward and reinforce behavior that's welcoming and positive, so that the child associates being a good sibling with having a happy parent and a happy family. For example, you can make a "Welcome Home" card with the child, spending quality time during the making and also making a big deal out of giving the card to both mother and baby.
  6. As much as you possibly can, ignore or overlook behavior that's unwelcoming and negative - the very last thing you want to do is to teach your older child that your precious attention and time can be obtained just as easily by pinching the baby or by saying "I hate the baby" as by offering to bring the baby a clean diaper.
  7. Try talking to the baby about the older child when the older child is nearby, e.g., "Baby, look what your smart big brother did, he tied his own shoes/made his own bed/found the remote for me" and "Baby, when you grow up, Big Sister can show you how to play Candyland."
  8. Don't *always* drop what you're doing as soon as the baby cries. Many many many times your older children will have to wait while you take care of the baby. Every once in a while, make the baby wait.
  9. Do fun things alone with your older child, especially if you do things with just the baby. If you're taking a mother-and-baby exercise class, for example, make a point of doing something special with your older child about equally often. This will help your child see that there's still time for just the two of you. Even a trip to the grocery story without the baby can be fun for your older child if you're not too exhausted to be nice.
  10. Do fun things as a family. Your child will naturally resent the baby if he or she feels the baby is preventing your family from doing fun things together. Show your child that the new baby is part of the family - this is important because young children sometimes do not understand that the baby is here to stay - by planning family outings where you can bring the baby along to share in the fun.


  • Get into the habit of referring to the baby as "our baby" rather than "my baby" or "the baby." Toddlers are especially fond of the idea of ownership and will like taking care of "their baby."
  • The older your children are, the more they can do to help with the baby, but even very young kids can be encouraged or taught to do fun "big brother/sister" things with (or for) the baby and you.
  • Let your older child get lots of positive attention for being helpful and competent and he or she will be less likely to try to get attention by being whiny, helpless, and demanding (behaviors which, after all, seem to be working great for the baby).
  • Some parents find that bringing a small cot into the bedroom so that the family can all sleep together when the baby gets home helps foster a positive feeling about the whole event.
  • When your child is feeling upset or left out, talk to them about their feelings ("you feel sad that we had to skip the park today" or "you feel mad that the baby spit up on your doll") and ask what you can do to help.
  • Often a cuddle and a chat are all it takes to help your older child feel better (temporarily) and less conflicted about the new baby.


  • Remind your tactless or forgetful relatives and friends to pay some attention to the older child FIRST when they come to visit - and this does NOT mean asking "What do you think about your new brother?" or "How do you like being the big sister?" Ignoring the baby completely for the first fifteen minutes won't hurt the baby a bit but can do wonders for the older child's self-confidence. Avoid giving the impression that "all you can talk about" is the new baby.
  • Try to avoid negative attention when it comes to your child trying to help with the baby. Continual anxious hovering and "constructive" criticism will encourage distance from the new sibling, not to mention resentment.
  • The new baby will make your older child seem dramatically more competent, but remember to keep your expectations age-appropriate. Ask yourself, "Would I be expecting that my child could share/wait/help in this way if he or she was still an only child?"
  • Never make helping with the new baby into a chore. If your child wants to help with diaper changes, that's great. But try never to make the baby seem like extra work.
  • Many children think a newborn sibling is absolutely delightful but have real trouble adjusting when the baby is older. Save some of your patience - and sympathy - for your older child who feels resentful of the crawler who "gets into everything" and knocks over blocks, messes up games, brings playdates to an early end, etc.

Things You'll Need

  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Understanding

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Be Accepted As a Step Parent

You've found the perfect man or woman for you, but nowadays, many people in a relationship have children from a "previous". Here's how to be a step-parent to all ages with as little conflict as possible.


  1. Don't expect them to call you Mom/Dad straight away, if at all. After divorces or the death of a parent, most children don't understand the logic behind their Mom/Dad marrying again.
  2. If you don't approve of your husband/wife's previous spouse, don't say so in front of the children. This will just cause them to either dislike you greatly or parrot to the parent in question, causing unneeded trouble.
  3. Don't be upset or disheartened by negative reaction. The child hasn't got a disliking of you as a person. Their childish logic sees you as an enemy for trying to be a new Mom/Dad (although you are not), and they may take their unhappiness out on you.
  4. On the other hand, if the child is upset and unsettled, and wants to talk to you, embrace it. If they see you as approachable and sympathetic, they will ultimately be less hostile.
  5. In the case of teenagers, they may say "You're not my Mom/Dad!" when confronted with rules. This is common, so don't snap and shout back, simply be consistent and don't waiver, as teenagers will see it as a sign that they can walk all over you.


  • Be happy! Children prefer a happy and approachable adult to speak to.
  • Meet your boyfriend/girlfriend's children first, don't just turn up after dating their parent for a long time.
  • Find some interest that you have in common with the children. For example, if your partner's teenage daughter likes music and you play guitar, offer to teach her, or if she likes books, talk about some classic titles with her.


  • The children may never fully accept you. Be prepared for that.
  • It will be tiring and upsetting at first, but persevere.
  • Shouting back in an argument with the child will just make it worse.
  • Never criticise the children to your partner, they will see them as faultless, as they are his/her children, and he/she has known them all their lives.
  • Never order the children to call you Mom/Dad. This will just make them more determined not to.

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