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My blended family on BBC TV

On the morning of Friday 23 December, a prerecorded sequence of my blended family eating together will be show on BBC Breakfast TV, and Dr Katherine Rake will be the ‘expert’ interviewed about the ‘modern family’.

In the Scottish Widows report Centre for the Modern Family, Dr Rake says of the research “..people seem quite liberal around form.  In other words they recognise that different arrangements – married couples, lone parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – can all create the strong caring relationships that are the hallmark of a good family life.”

What won’t appear in the footage that gets used for the Friday morning piece is the SOS Divorce in a Box (ribbon is optional) – yet the Divorce in a Box is, as my daughter pointed out to me the other day, is a symbol of how our family managed to make a fractured family into a blended family (their dad, bonus mum and bonus brother are all over my place for Xmas breakfast) – since it is the WAY you break up that allows for a ‘modern blended family’ to be as healthy as a ‘traditional family’.

Just as legal and wellbeing professionals are learning to co-operate and take a multi disciplinary approach to the family breakup process, so families themselves are learning to adapt to a more co-operative way of living when the conventional family form becomes unachievable, or undesirable.  Yet society seems to be lagging behind in accepting these changes: 22% of families in the study said their family type was not valued by society. 18% feel actively judged by society for te family model in which they live.

But the statistics take on a deeper significance when you include the 43% of people over 60 who live alone, and the 25% of this group living alone with no family nearby.  Why is there so much social pressure to have a traditional family form, when surely the emphasis should be on encouraging families of all forms, to collaborate and work towards long term healthy relationships?

When divorcing couples focus on mediation and collaborative law as ways of saving money and stress short term, they are missing the real significance of taking a non-adversarial route.  What they need to recognize are the enormous long term benefits: sustainable agreements without the desire to go to court to continue an ongoing sense of grievance; being able to both come along to the wedding of children now grown and maybe even sit on the top table with respective new partners; share in the joy of bonus babies irrespective of blood lineage…..

I believe that it is what is in the Divorce in a Box that will allow people to find the vision, tools and non-adversarial influences (like life coaching, mediation and collaborative law) to make the coming post-Christmas “divorce season” one that will ultimately lead to healthier – but not always ‘traditional’ – family models.


Suzy is selling the boxes online: £36 for the online version, and £40 for the physical version including vat and UK postage.  For more information visit



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