What a way to start the day! I met Nigel Latta in person and had the pleasure of chatting with him about his new book ‘The Modern Family Survival Guide‘. It’s funny when someone’s on TV, you kind of already feel like you know them. He was just as I’d expected, friendly, entertaining and wise.
The scene was set nicely as he stepped out of the car to find my two boys scaling our wooden trellis in a semi-dangerous fashion. My husband quickly went to pluck them down but I knew Nigel would approve of their play. He’s all for letting kids be kids. I arranged for three different friends to pick up my children and drop them off at their various school and kindergartens. So once they were sorted, we settled into a bit of a chat and some Q&A about Modern Families.
What is a ‘Modern Family’?
Modern Family, in Nigel’s book, refers to blended families, step-families, single parents, adoptive parents, same-sex parents and grandparents raising grand-children. Whatever your situation is, Nigel is passionate about his message that “your family is not broken”, bruised but certainly not broken. As he says in his book, “Families have been forming, falling apart and re-forming since the very beginning. Far from being broken, the modern blended family is actually very normal” (p.44).
Quotes and the Take Home Message
This book is exactly what we have come to know and love about Nigel Latta’s writing and presentation style. He is candid and entertaining while also being well-researched, humble and helpful. In addition to historical references, his book is peppered with amazing and heart-felt quotes from parents about their own experience as part of a blended family. Here’s some advice from a parent Nikki about having a happy blended family: “The same rules must apply for all the children, any favouritism must be pushed aside and all children need to be treated with equal sweet, cuddles, time. Trust and acceptance are the biggest tools to blend well” (p.98)
Each chapter ends with ‘the take home message’ which is a great sum-up of all points covered in that section. The range of topics covered throughout the book is thorough and impressive. Some of these include: Surviving family court, Dealing with a toxic ex partner, Making it work, Introducing someone new, Absent parents and more… It’s tricky for me to ‘review’ the book in the sense that I’ve never been in a blended family myself. Having read it however, I can say that the tone is honest and hopefully it helps families by taking the weight off and giving some guidance on how to get through some tricky times so you can really enjoy your modern family. I’d give it a 4.5 stars/5.
How friends can help
As with most of my interviews, I asked Nigel how can friends help? He said that friends can help by letting the parents know that they’re doing a good job. My friend Pip is certainly doing a good job, and her and her ex are doing a good job of treating eachother nicely and not bad-mouthing each other in front of the kids. In fact, their story is one of our most popular podcasts. It’s a good news story in the sense that she is now happily re-married and has a 1 year old boy with her new husband (as well as her other two lovely boys). But it’s also a story that shares the honesty and challenges of adjusting to a situation that you never imagined you’d find yourself in. Click here for the ‘What to do when your husband walks out’ blog and podcast.
Big Ups to the Step-Mums
One thing that Nigel acknowledges in this book is the role of the step mum. “There is not more difficult job than being a stepmother. It’s like being a mother, but without any real power, both hands tied painfully behind your back, and a choice of options which often seem to range from crap to even more crap” (p.205)
What do you think of that? Any step-mums out there who agree or disagree?
Get the Book!
If you’re in New Zealand, you can head over Fishpond to get your copy of The Modern Family Survival Guide. Anywhere else, of if you’d like to grab the Kindle version then head on over to Amazon. (Note that by using either of these affiliate links, you won’t pay any extra, but you will be helping to support If Only They’d Told Me!). For a list of the other books and DVDs by Nigel Latta, click on his own website: Goldfish Wisdom
Thanks Nigel, it was fun and fascinating to meet you!