Handling issues that arise in blended families

Maureen Donley, Adoptive Mom & Therapist, shares expert advice for parents of blended families on how to best handle issues that the children have
Blended Families | How To Best Handle Issues That Arise
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Handling issues that arise in blended families

The best way to handle issues that arise with a blended family is to talk about them, to make sure that everybody knows that no topic is off limits, that you want to know what they’ve encountered during the day on the school yard or walking home from school. And the other important piece is to communicate to your kids that they are under no obligation to answer other people’s questions. Their life is not an open book. They don’t have to explain everything. It’s perfectly okay to decline to respond. A second thing to keep in mind is to actively and consciously work to knit your sibling together so that they have shared traditions, shared rituals, rituals that are build on everybody’s interests and background and that each child’s story, whether it’s a birth child or an adoptive child, that their story is told and has an honored place in the family history.

Maureen Donley, Adoptive Mom & Therapist, shares expert advice for parents of blended families on how to best handle issues that the children have


Expert Bio

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Maureen Donley, MA, MFT

Adoptive Mom & Therapist

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Maureen's practice spans all ages and holds a focus in creative professionals, adoption and trauma work.  She earned her MA in Clinical Psychology with a Child Studies specialization from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Counselor in both K-8 and high school settings and is finishing her third year as a Counselor at the Southern California Counseling Center working with individuals, families and couples. She completed the Family Training Program Certification there, and will hold both TRM and EMDR trauma certifications in July 2013. In addition, she is working with Jeanette Yoffe in a monthly adoption support group on the Westside, as part of her new non-profit, The Celia Foundation, dedicated to all members of the adoption constellation. Maureen also facilitates both parenting and adolescent groups at Dr. Bonnie Goldstein’s Center for Psychological Services on the Westside. 

Before joining the psychology field, Maureen's first love was the arts.  As a producer and studio exec, she was part of the Feature Animation team at Disney during the Renaissance years of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Toy Story. Maureen subsequently had a production deal at Fox under which the animated feature Anastasia was released. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to join the Mermaid team, she was based in New York City.  While there, she was on the faculty at The Juilliard School (Drama Division), and was a visiting professional for the Yale School of Drama. Maureen worked on many theatrical productions as a stage manager including the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Tandy, the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes and the 1st and 2nd National Tours of Cats in Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. She says, "being part of telling timeless tales was great preparation for helping people discover the true stories of their own lives."


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