Book Release: Blending to Make it: Ingredients for a Successful Blended Family
Interview by V. Michelle Bernard
D.E. Mangum, a member of Allegheny East Conference’s Bladensburg (Md.) church, has a resource that might help the growing number of blended families in the church:
What inspired you to write a book for blended families?
I am a member of a third generation blended family and have personally dealt with the challenges and misconceptions of what a blended family faces. My passion is to see this family system rise above all of the statistics, criticisms and hopeless ideology to become the family unit that can soar to greatness and wholeness. God has inspired me to write a book that will offer members of this family structure some principles (ingredients) that would assist them in navigating through some of the complex dynamics from a practical, therapeutic and spiritual perspective.
How are blended families impacting today’s family structure and how are they changing our society?
The 2011 Pew Research report on Marriage, Family and Stepfamily Statistics indicates that 2,100 new blended families are formed daily. This family structure is transforming our society exponentially because every blended family starts from a loss (death, divorce or having a child out of wedlock), which ultimately means that these families are formed and broken emotionally, psychologically and often financially.
What are some of the biggest mistakes new blended families make?
- They don’t seek premarital, professional or Christian counseling for the both adults and children in this new family structure (together and separately).
- They assume that the adjustment for children will happen quickly with the new non-biological parent.
- They have unrealistic expectations that everything will be perfect or like their previous relationship.
- They show favoritism toward the biological children over the stepchildren.
- They fail to allow all parties concerned to express their feelings verbally.
- They don’t allow God to be the center of this new family system.
What are the first things a new blended family should do to build a thriving family?
- Seek premarital, professional or Christian counseling for both adults and children and apply the principles offered (together and separately).
- Recognize and understand that the meshing of this family system takes time. Patience is the key.
- Be willing to accept each other as individuals first and work toward becoming a team through the rebirth of prayer, love, respect and faith in the family.
- Recognize that communication is the key and that “language matters” (what you say, when you say it and how you say it).
- Believe that God’s desire is that this new family system will go from surviving to thriving.
Click here to order a copy of the book.