Due to her personal experience in a stepfamily, Adele Cornish is well aware of the challenges blended families face every day. Equipped with a social work background and a vision to help families succeed, she has devoted years to extensively researching and addressing the unique issues blended families wrestle with. Here, she discusses the results of a survey she conducted. “In my survey I asked children of divorce what was the best thing their parents did to help them cope with the divorce”.
Here’s what a few said: “They supported each other in major parenting decisions.” “They didn’t criticise one another in front of us kids.” “They kept us together at weekends, alternating houses.” Sadly, most said their parents did nothing to help them. Some even said it appeared their parents were more focused on ‘getting even’ with each other despite the huge negative impact this had on their children.
Here’s what children of divorce wish their parents had done for them: “Talk things through.” “Explain why they were separating.” (Note: explain WITHOUT blame and keep it simple for your child’s sake) “Work their problems out in a civil manner and not in front of us.” “Pay attention to me.” “Remain more cohesive in how they parented: my dad was 'goodtime Charlie' and we had a lot more freedom with him. My mom was stricter.”
“Looking back I wish my mother had not used me as her 'hurt weapon'. My father to this day has not ever spoken badly of her…. which I find admirable considering what she has done!” “I wanted them to stop fighting.” “I wanted them to care about what was going on in my life instead of having to listen to their problems. I didn’t want to hear what a jerk the other parent was or whose fault it was or how hard their life was.”
“I wish they had accepted some responsibility for their actions and acknowledged how the results of their choices affected me as a child!! I wish they had put their own selfish needs aside and seen what I was going through and how lost and alone I was.” “Not force me to take sides.” “Not bad-mouth the other and put us in the middle.”
Adele and Mike Cornish are holding a Blended Family Success workshop at The Parenting Place, Greenlane on Saturday 7 March from 8.30am to 3.30pm.
Find out more at theparentingplace.com. This is a full day workshop giving couples tools and strategies to equip their blended family to succeed. Topics will cover: Understanding blended family dynamics and planning to succeed; how to create and sustain a great couple relationship; learning effective communication and conflict resolution; creating a thriving environment for children; coparenting peacefully with ex-partners; uniting your family with positive parenting strategies.