Dec 5, 2017
Brian Mayer discusses the importance of counseling prior to
blending a family. Due to the complicated structure and the
little time that family members have to adjust to the new situation
making sure everyone’s opinions and feelings are being accounting
for is very important. Being heard and understand can often
make up for the extreme difficulty in adjustment that both the
spouses and children have to make. We hope you enjoy today’s
message. For more information and additional resources please
visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- So I love listening to the radio show of Pastor Greg
Laurie. He pastors a very large church in Riverside,
California. He will often make mention that he has a face for
radio in sort of a self deprecating manner. This got me
wondering that since I do an Audio podcast, do I also have a face
only fit for radio? This got me thinking back to my teen
years and an incident that occurred out on the tennis courts in
which a girl around my age asked me to take off my sunglasses and
when I did she responded with a deflating, “Oh” as if to say “well
that was not what I was expecting.” Talk about
deflating! Well anyway, my photo is on the website at
You can be the judge but go easy on me!
- Today’s episode is all about Blended Families getting
counseling before the Blend occurs and how important this
- Prefamily Counseling Article Written by Jaymes Gonzalez
- Gonzales wrote the article while at the Department of
Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
- Blended families and couples need counseling probably more so
than do pre-marital couples that have never been married and first
time married couples. The blended family situation is so
complicated and then people are sort of thrust together with a
period to get to know each deeply. It is like learning on the
- Gonzales proposes 4 stages to the Pre-Blended Family
- Discovery Stage – Discovering Each Family
Member. Again because blended families are often thrust
together, this stage of counseling is important. It gives
each family member the opportunity to learn more about each
other. He proposes an interview of each member during the
counseling with such simple questions as “What is your favorite
food” to more meaningful questions such as “What is your dream
job.” He also discusses getting to know personal habits such
as whether or not the individual is a morning person and how much
affection such as hugs do they like.
Bonding activities are also important during this stage.
He gives an example of everyone helping to make a family flag by
each person drawing something special on the flag that is
meaningful to them.
- Educational Stage – The therapist might
assign reading such as books that discuss a specific family’s
blended family experience. Children’s books on the subject
are also very helpful. Podcasts like this one can also be
helpful for couples and families to learn more about the ins and
outs of remarriage and blended family life.
Education on normalizing the experience is also important in
counseling. Letting each member know that combining families
is not easy and will not be perfect. This sometimes has
little to do with the specific people involved but more about the
One thing that does get lost is that children not only have to
adjust to different rules and expectations in one household, but
they also have to adjust to a second household.
Time and patience should also be taught in the counseling
sessions. Most researchers state that blended families take
5-7 to come together in a strong enough manner to operate like a
biological nuclear family.
- Parental Unification – The couples
needs to discuss their views on parenting before coming
together. This includes expectations on discipline. It
also includes expectations on interactions with former
spouses. The sessions on this piece need to give lots of time
for each adult to be able to talk about their feelings on all of
these matters. It is important to get these out in the open
so that each person can work on how to bring this together before
the households are combined.
Gonzales cites some other researchers in saying that when
blended families are first formed, each parent should be the
primary disciplinarian of their own children, but at some point
there should be a gradual move to disciplining of
In these sessions, there would be some time devoted to the
adults working on unifying, but then the children would be brought
in to discuss and understand what the parents have decided
regarding expectations and discipline.
- Family Unification – This is the final stage of
counseling for the pre-blended family.
Discuss fears, hopes, and expectations of each family member
What home life will look like
Establishment of Family Conferences
Simple listening and validating feelings of children are
important at this stage. If children are interrupted etc at
this time it can lead them to shut down more than they may already
be prone to.
These sessions in which the counselor teaches these
communication skills should also be used at home during the family
Most blended families are thrust together, but this type of
counseling can be important to establish a more healthy unit.
Most experts recommend 10-12 sessions to ensure all areas are
covered and that each member can feel confident as they discuss and
practice what life will look like outside the sessions.
Thanks For Listening!
- With so many things that take time in our lives, I more
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