Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
In the book Blended Families, Valerie Coleman, editor and contributor, has compiled an anthology of personal experiences in blending families. There are multiple definitions of blending contained in the book, but in general, the authors believe that expending energy positively in relationships can reap rewards in the fashion of a cohesive family unit. One of the authors, Dr. Congress, sums up the process succinctly by stating that, when dealing with children from different parents, "you will have to face the music instead of changing the station."
Professional counseling is advised for those willing to take advantage of a smoother blending process. The authors advise that all hidden agendas be exposed and dealt with in a nonthreatening and respectful manner. This includes all family members. Children's feelings need to be explored and fears of non-inclusion or displacement put to rest.
It is interesting to note that some authors feel that peaceful coexistence is more probable when biological fathers are absent. Others feel that the inclusion of all family members is the key to family cohesion. All authors agree that respect toward the other biological parent, as well as firm household rules with consistent carry-through, is the key to the success of the blended family.
The strength of the book is in the nonfiction accounts of parents who have actually gone through the trials and tribulations of blending a family. The fictional stories, although instructional, are weak and sometimes simplistic. All in all, this book will appeal to any parent attempting to work toward a cohesive, blended family. Such readers will relate to the successes and the failures of the individuals involved. The authors are in unanimous agreement that the strength and success of a blended family lies in a firm and abiding faith.