Making Rules For the Blended Family

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, in that wonderful bass voice of his: “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” Let’s see where that takes us.

Picture this: Mom restricts TV-watching for her children to Sponge Bob alone (poor dears), and her children have been allowed–as teens, if you can fancy it–to watch “Cars,” “The Smurfs,” and–in non-cartoon-watching bliss–“Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” when they earn the right to a movie at all.

Wife 2’s kids are huge fans of “Project Runway” and “Two Men and a Baby”–and have entered the seductive world of R-rated movies, which they themselves can pull up on On-Demand, HD TV (unsupervised)–a feat I can’t see myself ever achieving in my wildest dreams.

(I’m stuck in the days when you actually got up, walked to the TV, and turned a knob. My son has 4 remote controls to his TV. If my granddaughter asks to watch a television show, I’m forced to act out all the parts myself to distract her. At any one moment I could be DJ Lance, Muno [“He’s tall and friendly!”], Foofa [yup–you’ve got it–pink and happy]–Brobee, Tootie, or magic robot Plex. That’s before I have to call up my old high school Spanish for my Dora the Explorer routine. It’s so fatiguing that I see why they leave raising children to the young.)

Dad and Wife 2 are junk food addicts themselves, so their house is replete with Pop-Tarts, Cheetos, potato chips, Girl Scout cookies, Werthers, and an astonishing array of chocolate treats.

Dad’s former wife is, of all things, a vegan–so it’s basically veggie burgers, sunflower butter and boatloads of veggies for Mom’s kids, who’ve never even heard of Pop-Tarts.

Fundamentally, different households have different rules. But by whose rules should the children abide when they’re combined in one house, now with conflicting family requirements?


I help adults and adolescents through the particular struggles of our time: tension between couples, parenting frustration, blending new families, separation and divorce, (un)employment, cancer, and loss. When relationships come to an impasse, I use mediation techniques to try to ensure that each party will have his/her needs heard and accounted for in a dignified way. In addition to talking, listening, and reframing, I utilizes the tools of metaphor, active teaching, role-playing, visualization, and hypnotherapy.for families and businesses, as well as in cases of divorce.

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