Parenting - - In This Issue -

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 the­p­ar­ent­ing­ 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.

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