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Chris Fane's Student Ministry News

A youth ministry blog consisting of a collection of articles and notes related to
student / youth ministry. Gathered by Chris Fane of egadideas.com

ABC's Primetime Looks at Stepfamilies


April 21, 2006 — "The silence of being a stepfamily is deafening," one stepparent wrote in a letter to ABC News' "Primetime."

With so many marriages ending in divorce, the number of people living in a stepfamily situation is steadily increasing. Yet many stepfamilies say there is little information available to help with the myriad problems that can tear them apart.

For a glimpse into blended families, "Primetime" found two families on the brink of implosion that allowed cameras inside their homes to document the problems and let experts try to help.

Not Quite Like the 'Brady Bunch'

"The Brady Bunch" may be the ideal blended family — a single mom and dad with three kids each, all under one roof. The Brady family's little annoyances, however, were resolved by the end of the show with a hug and a smile.

Life's not quite like that for the Alsted family from Snohomish, Wash. Laurie has four children and has raised them alone for years. Tony has two kids from a previous marriage. When Laurie and Tony married, all of them moved into a new house.

Laurie and Tony thought they could handle it — they are both highly regarded professionals. Laurie is a corporate marketing executive and Tony, a corporate project specialist. They are "problem-solvers," as Laurie puts it.

As the months went by, the family began to notice a tug-of-war over parenting styles.

Laurie is something of a "sergeant mommy."

"My house is my house," she said. "Organization, dinner time, respect rules. … And for me being a single parent for seven years, you know, it's like, 'This is when we're eating. Your clothes will be laid out before school.' Everything was so structured."

That is in direct conflict with Tony's easygoing approach to parenting. "I don't have any desire to lay out the kids' clothes or my clothes, for that matter, or every day we have dinner because life is dynamic," he said.

Laurie thought it was her job to get Tony's kids to accept her firm control. "When we blended families, that was my expectation … that everybody would pitch in," she said.

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