family. New puppy?
I am recently married remarried. My husband and I both have 2 kids from previous
marriages. Our schedules are hectic and my husband's son, who's 8, wants a
puppy. I am afraid that if I say no, I will be the bad guy. I just don't think
we can handle any more stress. What should I do?
While on the one hand, a pet offers the opportunity to develop responsibility;
on the other hand, the timing may not be best.
When coming together as a blended family, you are getting used to each other's
personalities and habits. Further, you are getting used to new regimes and
schedules. This is typically quite a time of confusion for all.
Amidst the change and confusion, one or other family member may feel left out
and thus may seek a more immediate solution to feeling loved. The thought of a
puppy may offer such a solution, but would likely only add chaos at least in the
Rather than plunging into getting a puppy, I would advise a substantial period
of adjustment, at least a year. In the meantime, offer all your children much
love and support and attention as they get acclimatized to the new family
You will have to chat with your new husband about all of this and offer him this
reasonable explanation for putting the puppy on hold. This may be your first
test as husband and wife. Assuming the choice is not to get the puppy, it is
your husband who should inform his son and it should be presented as a mutual,
parental decision. There is no bad guy or gal here, just two parents helping
their newly blended family to accommodate.
The added pressure and pleasure of a new puppy can wait.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario,
Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child
relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations,
social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a
Section 112 (social work) report.
Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters.
Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques
information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane,
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