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2 November 2008 SanTan FAMILY FUN
HHere’s the story … of a blended familyere’s the story … of a blended family
by Natalie Morris One of the most difficult aspects of blending
The high prevalence of divorce and ffafamilies is the issue of correcting or disciplining
remarriage in today’s society means many ssomeone else’s child. As an adult living in the
newly married SanTan Sun area couples find hhousehold, stepparents have to establish some
themselves adjusting not only to each other, llevel of authority and respect, yet not appear e
but to an instant family as well. While iconic tto be taking over or inserting themselves as a
blended families like “The Brady Bunch” seem pparent. Finding that balance is not easy, shares
to face issues no more significant than sharing WWingard.
a bathroom or occasional stepsibling rivalry, the “This is extremely difficult for a number of
truth can be much more complex. rreasons,” he says. “Different authority figures
“A divorce or separation divides a once- llook at this role in different ways. A spouse who o
whole family in two, and when merging two iisis attempting to discipline another’s child is in
separate families together, children often have aa very delicate position and must take all steps
a tough time adapting,” says William Wingard, nnecessary to ensure that they are working with
a family law attorney who lives in Chandler. tthe full cooperation of the parent-spouse.
“When two families come together, one of the “Additionally, as difficult as it sometimes is
hardest obstacles I have seen for children is aand as impossible as it may sound,” Wingard
they often feel they no longer fit in anywhere. ccontinues, “the parent-spouse must try and
Parents need to pay particular attention to wwork together with the child’s other parent
ensure that the child’s individual needs are met tto ensure that they, to the extent possible,
and that they feel a part of the entire unit and aare fully aware of the situation and are in
not alone.” aagreement. Sometimes this is impossible or
Wingard says closely monitoring a child’s
Submitted photo
iimpractical, but I believe it is necessary and
behavior throughout the divorce and remarriage
HIS, HERS, OURS: Blended families of “yours, mine and ours” are more bbeneficial for all involved.”
process is essential to making the process
common today.
Appropriate counseling for children, says
easier for the child to handle. Extra time spent Wingard, is well worth the investment.
focused on the child during such a stressful time is critical, even as parents are “Always seek out the help of a professional when dealing with these issues,”
dealing with their own emotions. he asserts, “as children are too delicate and too important to take a chance on.
“Intentional or not, sometimes parents are so involved in their own needs in Money spent wisely on a professional to deal with the issue correctly is well
the new relationship, they forget that the children’s needs and desires also need rewarded in the future.”
to be met,” he states. “Communication issues seem to be the biggest problems in Wingard’s office is located at 1400 E. Southern Ave. in Tempe, and he can be
family law matters. People’s emotions become very strong and can drive them to reached at 480-333-5587.
act in a way they would never normally act, and this can cause problems. I have
often told people that counselors are well-equipped to handle and help families Natalie Morris is a freelance writer who lives in Cooper Commons with her husband, two
through this stressful time.”
sons and their dog, Bella. Contact her at
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