Sunday, 17 September 2000

The Blended Family: Demanding Equal Love, an Introduction

Written by  Sherri Mandell , Michael Tobin

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The Blended Family: Demanding Equal Love, an Introduction

In this drama, the difficulty of combining two families is put to the test. Kimberly (43) and Greg (50) have been married for 1 year. Kimberly has a teenage daughter, Dina, 15, from a previous relationship. (She never married and was a single mom.) Greg, whose first wife, Barbara, died of skin cancer, is the father of a grown daughter, Tanya, (21) from his first marriage.

Kimberly resents Greg because she wants him to act more like a father to Dina. She wants Greg to love Dina the way he loves Tanya. But demanding love is not an effective means of gaining Greg's love for Dina.

Kimberly and Greg are struggling with questions that face many stepfamilies: How active a parenting role does the stepparent take and how does the biological parent prepare the stepparent and child for that role? It is quite common for the children to resent the intrusion of the stepparent into their lives. They may react with anger at losing their favored position with their parent and having to adjust to a stranger in a parenting role. It takes great sensitivity and thought on the part of both the step and biological parent to make this transition into a new family structure.

The process of their communication is labeled, and shows Greg's and Kimberly's communication style

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Last modified on Sunday, 22 May 2011 06:42
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Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell has a Master's degree in Creative Writing and has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Penn State University. She is the author of the book Writers of the Holocaust. She has written articles for the Washington Post. She is married with four children

Michael Tobin

Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin has been a psychologist since 1974, specializing in marital and family therapy. He is the author of numerous articles on marriage and family relationships and is the founder of He's  been married to Deborah for 38 years and is the father of four children and grandfather to five.

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