LeAnn Rimes and ‘Real Housewives’ star Brandi Glanville are in a publicly displayed parenting feud due to a war of words via twitter. ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) called upon this relationship expert; Dr. Karen Ruskin, to share my insights. What an honor indeed to have the opportunity to be a source for GMA offering my expertise as a marriage and family therapist.
Have we learned anything from observing a twitter war of words between biological mother Brandi (has 2 sons), and step mother LeAnn?
In case you do not follow celebrity news here is the quickie scoop: LeAnn is married to Eddie Cibrian, father of 2 sons from the union between Brandi and he. Eddie and LeAnn had an affair while he was married to Brandi. Eddie and Brandi eventually got a divorce and he married LeAnn. Did you follow that? I tried my best to make it sound as confusing as possible. The quickie on the twitter parenting feud is as follows: Sunday December 2nd, 2012 on twitter, LeAnn referred to her step sons as “my boys”. Brandi communicated via twitter, clearly upset, documenting that they are her boys and not LeAnn’s boys . . .
Here Is What We Have Learned/Food For Thought/Therapeutic Insights From This Family Therapist To You:
- Communicate with one another not at one another.
- It is the title, role, identity of who one is that therein makes the biological mother feel threatened. (A challenge for both the biological mother and the step mother in many blended family scenarios, not just for LeAnn and Brandi).
I invite you to watch my interview on GMA with Paula Faris reporting: LeAnn Rimes, ‘Real Housewives’ Star in Parenting Feud.
Read some more of Dr. Karen’s blended family tips and insights below:
- Social Media:
Whether you are a celebrity or not in the spotlight, be mindful of your social media (e.g., Twitter, Face book) articulations. What you write has impact system wide – on you, your spouse, your children . . .
- Your Position:
Your position as a mother, a step mother, a father, a step father – has an impact on one another’s emotional mental wellness as well as that of the children involved. Thus, be considerate and respectful to those whose lives you touch. You may not always say or do the right thing, you may say something you think is the right thing for the kids and it does not go over well with one of the other adults involved. If you try to try to be the best you can be with true awareness of how your actions play a role in one another’s lives, then the journey of having a successful blended family gets that much closer to that very success you seek.
- Blended Family Challenges:
There is a unique set of challenges that blended families as a whole and each person within the blended family dynamic are faced with.
Step Mother: She wants her step kids to feel loved by her and that she adores them because she adores them, not just because she is the wife of their father. The step mother often adores the children because they are the children of the man of whom she adores, and the kids themselves are indeed precious. It is this love that you as the step mother has, and how you show and verbalize it that can be beautiful and have a wonderful impact on yourself, the children, your husband, as well as the biological mother. It is that love for the children and how you show it that can at times be equally as painful, devastating, and traumatic to the biological mother. You cannot control how the biological mother feels all the time, nor should you try to. Rather, just try to be kind, compassionate, understanding, and mindful that this is a journey of which has inherent challenges in it for each of you.
Biological Mother: She wants her children to know that she is their mother and that no one will ever replace that. She also wants and needs to feel that she is her children’s mother and not feel replaced. It is quite threatening to feel that her identity, her role, her title is being replaced by another woman. The fact is, the biological mother’s identity, role, and title is not being replaced. Rather, the truth and fact is that there is an additional woman in your children’s life that is a Significant Adult Female Figure (SAFF), and a Significant Adult Mother Figure (SAMF). As a family therapist I educate families everyday of the SAFF, SAMF affect.
Biological Father/Step Father: The men involved in any blended family scenario are in a tricky spot as it is hard for them to always know how much to involve themselves in the challenges faced by the women in their life. For the men, they wish to be supportive of their current wife, be mindful of their children’s needs, but typically they do not want to anger nor upset their x-wife.