Integrating Single Families Together

Todays topic is integrating together single families.

The Brady Bunch works well on TV

I will start off by observing that the Brady Bunch works far better on television than it does in real life.  In our real world, whenever there are two families to integrate together and both have children, there will be considerable issues among the children.

I had two children.  It was therefore impossible for me to find or date a woman who had  children and expect that both of my children would like her children.  What I mean is, even if my date had only one child, at least one of my children would not like her child.  Simple!  That’s the way it works. Or so it seemed to me.  I wasn’t alone in reaching this conclusion.  Since I was a single parent, I tended to have a circle of friends that were in the same position.  They always admitted to similar problems in their dating life.  I had one lady friend who had completely given up dating because she didn’t want to deal with the inevitable conflicts that arose among the children.

I wasn’t quite so ready to quit although there were plenty of long, shall we just call them dry spells, during which I wasn’t dating anyone.

Conflicts among the children are inevitable

 As I mentioned, when the children first came to live with me, I had a friend I had been dating for some time.  After the children moved in, this arrangement continued for another year or so.  In fact, for some time, she lived with me. Her two girls, and my boy and girl all together living happily!  Right?  Wrong!  The conflicts among the kids were very troublesome and very difficult to deal with.  There are not only the jealousies one would expect among the kids, there are also the inevitable problems among the adults.

We both had been single for some time and both had developed our own habits and techniques for dealing with our kids.  Even in a two parent household, there are the inevitable attempts to play off mommy versus daddy.  You know, there are frequent times when a child will ask one parent for something and if they don’t get the answer they want, then it’s off to try the other parent. Not uncommon is a certain degree of misrepresentation as well.  You know what I mean.  I am talking about the inevitable, “Daddy , Mommy said I should ask you if it’s ok to do such and such”  Thus implying that Mommy said “yes if Daddy agrees” when in fact what Mommy said was “No”!

This sort of playing off between the adults is exaggerated in the two family household.  It starts with, “That’s not the way my mommy does it” or ” I don’t have to listen to you cause you’re not my real dad”.  Inevitably, there are differences between the way you and your new friend deal with individual problems.

There are also differences in the way the individual kids have been dealt with.  For your new relation to have even a tiny chance of survival, it is important to reach lots of agreements ahead of time.  This is probably an area were written rules and consequences that everyone agrees to are as helpful as they can ever be.

 Disagreements among the adults

Inevitably, you and your new friend will have disagreements over which one of you is too strict or too lenient. You will disagree on the proper punishment for some crime and the things that are to be considered crimes in the first place.  Perhaps you have fastidiously enforced a rule that strictly limits the amount of television the children are permitted to watch every day and your new friend has never set such limits.  Now what do you do?  Seemingly simple things like how much TV is ok and when it is ok will cause enormous problems if not agreed on ahead of time.  They not only cause problems between you and your friend, they cause conflict between your kids and the “other” kids.

“Dad, Johnny’s a brat.  I told him to turn off the television and he wouldn’t, so I just walked up and turned it off.  Meanwhile Johnny is off telling his mom what a brat your kid is for turning off the television and so the battle lines are drawn.

The simple things we almost all take for granted will become conflicts if permitted to.  Homework time, when is it done? How much is done?  TV time, when and how much?  Snacks after school.  What’s permitted and what isn’t.  Food for dinner.  Your kids won’t like your friend’s menu selections and her kids won’t like yours.  Unless its McDonald’s then at least the kids can agree on it (maybe)!  And if you think the menu selections are a problem, wait until you hear what the kids think of the others persons cooking.

I came to the conclusion that the problems of integrating together single families were so severe as to be not worth the emotional price that one has to pay to get it done.  I did however, continue to date but always tried to find situations and dates that the kids were comfortable with.  Frequently, the kids were included on dates.  A day at the park, or the zoo or a camping trip or something else the kids could participate in.  This way I minimized their feeling of being excluded.

Besides, I always enjoyed the company of a good woman and felt it was easier to have someone else along to help ride herd on things.  The obvious result was the kids felt included, they had someone other than just me to “play” with and I had adult companionship; usually an all around win for everyone.

Dating A Single Mother – AskMen…/73_dating_tips.html

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Tina B. Tessina, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author books about: dating, relationship advice, addiction, self help, interracial dating, recovery, – Online Dating Network for Single Parents

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Are you a single mom or single dad? Parents without partners trust to help them succeed at online dating.

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Family Development Fact Sheet. Call your county Extension office for more information. Take your time. . After a separation, divorce, or the death of a loved one,

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9 Apr 2012 – Parental dating is complicated for a single parent and adolescent. By Carl E. Pickhardt, Ph.D….

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Dating as a single parent is an interesting and complex topic that single parents, at In my mind, their are two types of dating for single parents. The first type,



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