Jan 042013

We know that when families grow and change it is not always by choice: divorce, job changes, relocation or re-marriage are not always choices that the entire extended family can agree on. The impact of those changes can rock our world in ways that we can’t imagine ahead of time. The foundation upon which our families have been built is tossed around like buildings in an earthquake.

While we may not choose the circumstances that create the change, we can always choose our response to it. Unfortunately, in our culture, most of us are not very good at making these changes, especially when we feel victimized by another’s decisions. In the midst of the shock and grief that accompany serious medical issues, or the hurt and anger that can go along with divorce, it can be really difficult to remember that we have choices — lots of them.

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where your are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” And while I’d like to take credit for such wise words, they are a favorite quote from Dale Carnegie.

So what should we think about in times of personal upheaval? I think that lots of us get into trouble by hanging on to ideas about some fictional perfect TV family – you know, the one we think everyone else has? Another common response is to keep our focus on the unfairness of the situation and relive with our friends, over and over again.

What would work better? People who, after surveying the damage and having a good cry, make a decision to ‘make the best’ of a situation always impress me. I find their approach inspiring and, frankly, would like to be better at that than I am.

A decision to shift focus from “why me “ to “what can I build that’s even better?” is an important first step. Do you believe that it is possible to salvage what’s still good, clear away the rubble and build something even stronger than what you had?

I recently recorded a presentation called “Why Blend When You Can Stand Out? Creating a Family that Works for All of You” for the Marriage and Family Online Conference series that debuts later this month. I am pleased to be partnering with them to bring new tools to parents.

Ten hours of tools and ideas from a variety of authors is available to early registrants (through this week) for only $39.99 On Monday March 22nd the price increases to $59.99

Click here for more information on the presentations for this month’s theme: Blended Families