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The Keys to Success for Blended Families

June 1, 2018 | by Alicia Jurney

One Big, Happy Family?  It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It.

I’m a longtime listener of The Bob and Sheri Show. When I was 16 years old, I listened to Bob, Sheri, Max, and Todd as I drove my 1989 Buick to school each morning, and I’ve followed the show ever since. One of my favorite things about the show is that the co-hosts share what is going on in their lives (both good and bad) in a way that makes it easy for listeners to relate to them. Over the past 18 years, things have changed for Bob and Sheri just as they have for me and many of you.

Since I began listening to The Bob and Sheri Show, Sheri has gotten married, had children, divorced, and remarried.  Her husband, Kevin, was also previously married, and he and his former wife, Joanie, have children together. Joanie has remarried, and her husband, Cole, has children with his former wife. Sheri, Kevin, Joanie, and Cole have a complex blended family. Each of them is both a parent and a stepparent, and at some point, they have all struggled to navigate their roles as parental figures to their “bonus children” without offending the other parent.

For Mother’s Day, Sheri and Joanie did a podcast episode in which they explained how they have grown to truly love and respect each other. I asked Sheri whether it would be okay for me to share their story, and she enthusiastically agreed. Sheri and Joanie’s relationship is an inspirational example for anyone trying to find harmony in a blended family. The full podcast episode is linked below, and I highly recommend listening to it, because you will want to hear Sheri and Joanie talk about overcoming their insecurities, becoming friends, and spending what Sheri describes as the best Christmas of her life together.

If you don’t have time to listen to it right now, here are the top three takeaways from the podcast episode:

Hurt Feelings are Natural, and in Most Cases, Not Insurmountable

It’s natural to feel jealous, insecure, and sad over the breakup of a marriage or the thought of the life your former spouse once shared with another person, and these feelings don’t just go away overnight. Getting past them means leaving your pride behind, accepting that there is another adult who loves your child (or stepchild) in his or her life, and appreciating what that person brings to your family.

Focusing on the Children Involved Puts Everything Else in Perspective

It’s hard for children to pick and choose between parents and stepparents they love, and the burden of making the “right” choice can cause them anxiety and pain. They didn’t ask to be put in the middle, and they shouldn’t feel like it’s their responsibility to make sure the adults in their lives are happy. Showing them that it’s okay to love both parents and stepparents makes it easier for children to adjust to the changes in their family structure.

A Good Relationship Between Parents and Stepparents in a Blended Family Can Help Heal Wounds Caused by the Breakup of the Marriage

In Sheri and Joanie’s case, their genuine affection for each other has helped Joanie and Kevin forgive each other and move on from the difficult things in their past. Joanie says that developing such a warm relationship with Sheri has brought her peace and joy.

Being in a blended family is challenging, and there have been rough spots for Sheri and Joanie as they have gotten to know each other over the past eight years. But if you can work through the hard times to become one big, happy family, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Listen Here: Mother’s Day with Joanie Podcast

Alicia Jurney is a North Carolina Board Certified Family Law Specialist in the firm’s family law practice group. She represents clients in child custody, child support, domestic violence, equitable distribution, and alimony matters. Her experience with domestic actions includes handling related complex civil litigation matters, such as tortious interference with child custody, alienation of affections, criminal conversation, and interstate child abduction. Her practice encompasses all levels of jurisdiction within North Carolina, including jury trial experience and appeals to both the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court....LEARN MORE

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