Blended families can work

July 24, 2018

Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has a new show on Facebook Watch called 'Red Table Talk' that she co-hosts with her mother, Adrienne, and daughter Willow, and speaks about various topics.

In the first episode, Jada and Will's ex-wife, Sheree, spoke frankly about the relationship they have developed over the life of her marriage to Will Smith and being a "bonus mother" to Trey, Will's son from his first marriage. It was interesting to see how they spoke about the initial challenges they had trying to find a balance in this new dynamic that they called a 'blended family'. I was especially entertained by the moments when they reminisced about their encounters of conflict and the arguments it caused. They eventually got to a point where they are friends and are actively part of a larger family unit.

With relationships ending and new ones forming, the phenomenon of the blended family is a reality that most of us have to contend with in the 21st century.

In the past, the idea of the former and current spouses having candid, civil, open relationships for the ultimate benefit of the children was remote, downright impossible in some cases. In recent times, the outlook has not only changed, it has evolved to the point where families are somewhat redefined, and space is made to accommodate the former spouse in an active way as a part of the family.

I can remember as a child, my mother having a problem with me speaking positively about my stepmother, and the idea of them being friends at any point was just out of the question. I can think of many examples where children are kept away from a parent because of a new relationship, and even away from their siblings because of the toxic relationships between their parents.

A close friend of mine met her sister for the first time in high school when she noticed her undeniable resemblance with her father. When she got home and confronted her parents, both of them knew about her sister but kept them apart because her mother would not allow her to visit, since her father cheated.




I am happy to report that there are several examples of blended families right here in Jamaica, and it's great to see how the children thrive when the adults are mature and they focus on the welfare of the child and not their own petty jealousy. I love how much the 'outside' children are embraced and included in the family, and so are their parents, in some cases.

I don't want to give the impression that this is the norm, because there are still so many families that are ripped apart when the primary relationship ends. But I think the blended family is inevitable, and so many of us are going to be a part of one. So I would recommend that we keep an open mind and remember that the children of a previous relationship had no choice in their existence and should not be punished for the decisions of their parents.

I hear some women say that they will never be with a man who has children because they cannot deal with the 'baby mama drama'. While having this goal is certainly possible, the older he gets, the probability of him not having children reduces. At the end of the day, relationships are not just about the two people who unite, it also affects the other people in their lives, including their former spouses and children they come with the package.

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