Step-Family | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

Step-Family

Uploaded: Dec 3, 2014
My four step-sons just got on the plane to go home. They are 27, 25, 14 and 11. This was the best time we've had together, despite the fact that their grandmother is dying.

We went to see them in their natural habitat (Washington State) for a week, and then they came here to see the whole family who are gathered to be with Mom as she nears the end of her days.

After divorce, or becoming widow or widower, single parents often remarry, creating a blended, or step-family. Research shows it takes seven years to work out the kinks. Certain families blend well. Others do not.

This has not been an easy path at times, yet it is critically important for us to create, build and maintain strong ties with our kids. These situations are each a little different: the kids live with you, live with you part-time, or mostly don't live with you. We have the latter.

Overall, the younger boys just want to be with their dad. They have a mom. I respect that, and don't try to be a mother to them. I talk with them, make sure there's food in the house that they like (in large quantities!), set a few boundaries (e.g., no running in the house) and make way for my husband to focus on the boys. We do a few things all together, and they do things without me.

The older boys are fine with all of us hanging out together, and I still make sure that I absent myself at times to allow dad-and-son time.

In the beginning, I felt like a maid: shopping, cooking, cleaning up, doing the laundry, etc. I chose that, because I didn't know how to be a step-mother. It didn't work for me. I felt overburdened, and would have grown resentful had it continued. I talked to my husband, and we changed things up. He started doing more of those things with me, and as the years passed the boys have grown up enough to help, too.

They helped cook the big family dinner last night; they decorated the small, live Christmas tree we brought to Mom; they brought love and cheer to everyone.

If you're looking for a good book about blending a family, check out, "How to Win as a Step-Family" by Emily Visher, Ph.D. and John Visher, M.D.


We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post
Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,539 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 16 comments | 1,528 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,294 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,191 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 126 views

 

Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.

Vote