What to Do When Your Child Calls the Girlfriend, “Mommy”
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
4M ago
Q. My son and daughter-in-law have been separated for a year. They have shared custody of their 4-year-old son. My son was very unhappy but chose to put up with it until he met someone else. Daughter-in-law did not handle the break-up well. There was lots of crying, screaming, threats, accusations, and harrassment by phone, text and email. As a result, my son will barely talk to her. They minimally co-parent. Son originally came up with a unique nickname for the child to call his girlfriend but in the last week I have heard the child and my son refer to her as Mommy. When I spoke to my son abo ..read more
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Bonus Mom/Bonus Dad of the Year Award, 2023!
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
5M ago
We know how difficult it is to combine families while everyone retains their individuality, but that’s the key to being bonus. This year we are congratulating a special Bonus Mom and a Bonus Dad who have gone over and beyond to set aside their own concerns and put the kids first–all the kids in their care, bio or bonus. Anyone can nominate the Bonus Mom or Bonus Dad of the Year. It can be a bonus kid, an extended family member, a friend who has watched you lead the way, anyone who knows your story…let us know how you feel about the Bonus Mom or Dad in your life. NOMINATE THEM FOR BONUS MOM or ..read more
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Bonus Family TV Show!!!!
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
6M ago
Have problems navigating stepfamily life and need Dr. Jann’s help? Contact us immediately! What’s a Bonusfamily? Technically, a bonusfamily is a stepfamily, only a bonusfamily is not dependent on the parents being married. They can be, as in a conventional stepfamily, but more importantly, “bonus” is a state of mind, embracing cooperation on the part of all the parent figures (that means ex’s, too) for the sake of all the children in their care. The term bonusfamily is not just a fluffy sweet word for stepfamily. Each member of the family has to make the commitment to work together to achieve ..read more
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Parallel Parenting: Why? Are There Benefits?
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
Research has shown that children do best when their divorced or separated parents share custody after a break-up. This becomes more of a challenge if the break-up is regarded as “high-conflict.” A high conflict break-up usually includes some sort of resticted interaction between the parents based on their past behavior–perhaps language demanding peaceful contact is added to the custody order or there is a restraining order in place that disallows common parental interaction. These kinds of restraints prevent parents from co-parenting and a “parallel parenting” approach is a logical alternative ..read more
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Establishing Co-parenting Boundaries that Stick
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
When thinking about boundaries, we often picture a fence or wall—something ridged to keep someone at bay. But a good boundary doesn’t keep people out, it lets people in by making it clear to others how you expect to be treated. Successful boundaries offer respect to both sides. “This is my boundary, my limit. I respect you. You respect me.” Many co-parents have told me that they have established boundaries with their co-parent, but those boundaries are not honored. The reason may be that they have allowed those boundaries to become blurred by reneging on their own desires. How? They don’t want ..read more
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“You’re Not My Mother !”
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
This entry began as an email to Bonus Families, but evolved into an interview for this article. It demonstrates first hand the progression toward becoming bonus… “There was a time I felt if I heard “I don’t have to listen to you, you aren’t my mother” one more time, I was going to resort to physical violence. When I was young, if I would have mouthed off to my mother, or any adult for that matter, I would have been slapped across the face. But, I knew I couldn’t slap this child. First, I don’t believe violence solves anything, and second, what a can of worms would be opened if I slap ..read more
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But, My Bonusdaughter USED to Like Me…
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
Q. I need help with my eleven-year-old stepdaughter. In the last few months she seems out of control. She won’t do anything I ask unless her dad makes her and I can’t seem to spend any quality time with her. I’ve tried to set up activities for us. I’ve even let her pick some of the activities she would like to try, but nothing seems to work. Nothing seems good enough. Her natural mother has little to nothing to do with her. She will call about once a month to make promises she never keeps or to complain about her own problems. My question is should I take a step back and let her father deal wi ..read more
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Jill Martin Brooks Shares Journey as a ‘Bonus Mom,’ Explains Why the Term Celebrates ‘More Love’ (Exclusive) from PEOPLE Magazine
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
TODAY anchor Jill Martin Brooks is talking about why she’s embraced life as a “bonus mom” and hopes others will take on the term Jill Martin Brooks is celebrating bonus moms this Mother’s Day. The lifestyle and commerce contributor, 47, is sharing her Mother’s Day-themed TODAY x Shop The Scenes collection, just in time for the holiday. Among the sweet buys for the hardworking moms out there are some special items, celebrating the term “bonus mom.” Martin Brooks has been embracing the term since last year and has dug deep into its meaning. “I always felt like step had a negative connotation to ..read more
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Mom Won’t Let Son Be in Dad’s Wedding
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
Q. I just asked my girlfriend to marry me. We’ve been together for three years and have lived together for two. I have a son from a previous relationship who absolutely adores my fiancé. He is 5 and his mother and I share equal custody. For some reason, my ex does not want our son to participate in the wedding. My son is very upset. I’m pushing to elope. What’s good ex-etiquette? A. There’s a lot going on here, so let’s take it one point at a time. Once again, I must admit, I am guessing, but it’s a very educated guess, so here goes… Reading between the lines, I think you are telling me you di ..read more
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Father’s Day Question: How do I Honor Dad and Bonus Dad?
Bonus Families | Co-parenting Advice For Divorced Parents And Stepfamilies
by Jann
7M ago
Q. I am 19. My mom and dad divorced when I was 12. It was difficult, but we all got through it, particularly because my mom married a really kind and understanding man about 4 years ago. I am close to my dad and would never do anything to hurt him, but I am looking for some way to also honor my bonus dad this Father’s Day. Do you have any suggestions? What’s good ex-etiquette? A. I liked the fact that your attitude is “also,” not “instead of.” Parents often believe there should be a choice—and if asked to choose most children will tell you that their parent takes precent, but if they have a lo ..read more
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