Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have been married for three years. I have a 12-year-old daughter from my first marriage who lives with us full time. My husband and daughter fight all the time, and our home is filled with tension. Please help us.
— Pat in Santa Barbara
Dear Pat: There is always a shift in the family dynamics when there is a big change in life, i.e. moving, marriage. Those are two BIG things to adjust to. By taking the step to marry, the two of you adults have entered into an agreement together of maintaining the best, healthiest surrounding for everyone in your home — including your daughter!
If you haven’t already done so, go talk to someone who will help you three with whatever issues have you off balance. Be very specific; this will help get to the bottom of the matter more easily.
It usually takes a few years for everyone to feel their way into a new family situation like this and work out all the kinks, so be patient. Have weekly roundtable family discussions about what works, what doesn’t work, and continue loving each other, being kind, listening and having fun in this new adventure. Remember, everyone involved has a voice.
Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have been saving for our family vacation for four years now. We had it all planned out with our two children, who have been saving their allowance and cutting out pictures of things they want to see on the family trip.
My husband told me last night that he has been invited to go on a fishing trip with his buddies, and it's the trip of a lifetime! The family is not invited, and he thinks that we can wait and go on the family cruise another time!
I am so hurt and really, really mad! What should I do? How can he possibly think this is all right?
— Mad Mama in Ventura
Dear Mad Mom: First of all, you need to check your husband’s pulse and vital signs. He must have fallen down and hit his head! The next thing would be to explain to him that this is his chance to be a hero with his children — simply by keeping his word. Go on this family trip of a lifetime, share the pictures from your trip with the fishing buddies when you get home, and spend the next 60 years reliving all the fabulous memories.
If he still thinks any part of his decision to going fishing and ditch the family plan, perhaps you could put it to a vote! He may need some time to mourn the big one that got away.
P.S. Children learn by examples, so whenever possible try to set good ones. Keeping your word is a great start!
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Imagine This ...
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” — Joseph Campbell