ERP 256: The Mistakes People Make When Blending Families And What To Do Instead – An Interview With Tracy Poizner

By Posted in - Podcast February 23rd, 2021 3 Comments

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Tracy Poizner, who talks about the different dynamics between a traditional family and a blended family. Many parents who are divorced and remarried have an expectation that the blended family will work seamlessly. 

She talks about the common difficulties that couples experience when blending families and becoming a stepparent. She mentioned that when the parent and stepparent have a new child that it can feel like a betrayal. Most times, kids don’t have enough security in their relationship with their stepparent that they are OK with a new child coming into the mix.

Listen in to learn why the parent and child relationship has to come before the marriage in a blended family, why you need to make different choices for a blended family, and why you need to consider previous household boundaries when creating rules for the new blended family.

(Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear explanations, stories, and examples.)


Tracy Poizner is a parenting coach and the host of the Essential Stepmom Podcast. She is a biological mom and a stepmom and has been through it all, from long-distance parenting to parental alienation, legal difficulties, mental health issues, loss of contact and full-time custody. Tracy has a special perspective on emotional healing and how to meet our personal needs as stepmoms in the everyday chaos of this challenging lifestyle. 

In this episode, Tracy Poizner and Dr. Jessica Higgins discuss: 

  • The biggest mistake of expecting a blended family to function like a traditional family
  • Why it takes up to seven years for blended families to feel really at home together
  • How dads often misunderstand their spouses role and how they are going to help parent
  • How guilt of divorce can affect how you parent your children
  • Parenting authentically and effectively in spite of your feelings
  • Why children in a blended family can destroy a second marriage
  • The challenges of making different choices in blended families
  • Simple gestures blended families can make to create better bonding between the new family members
  • The importance of respecting previous boundaries in the former household
  • Why kids needs are first in line before spousal need with biological children
  • How stepmoms can feel in competition with the kids for attention



ERP 256: The Mistakes People Make When Blending Families, and What to Do Instead – an Interview with Tracy Poizner

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(3) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • SJ - Reply

    March 3, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you so much for highlighting the issue of parental alienation and triangulation, and damage of not feeling safe with the other partner/parent. As a child of a difficult divorce, this has been a sustained impact (it is indeed on ‘ongoing presence’) and I have never before heard it articulated in a way that cut to heart of it. It has been something that I’ve processed in my adult life, to be weaponized in the conflict and feel unsafe with the parent and new stepparent, and it was very helpful to understand the context of how it might be projected, unresolved conflict. Appreciate this so much!

    • Dr. Jessica Higgins - Reply

      March 8, 2021 at 5:05 pm

      Hi SJ,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate your feedback. I will make sure Tracy gets your message as well. This is such an important topic, and I am grateful to hear how much healing work you have done around this issue. Keep up the wonderful work. Let us know if there is a way that we can support you further.

  • Tracy Poizner - Reply

    March 9, 2021 at 4:55 am

    Thanks for sharing – it’s nice to know that you felt my ideas matched your experience of what it was like to be alienated. I hope that as we talk about this problem more, it will help to guide parents away from unwittingly doing this to their kids as they process their own pain and anger after divorce.

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