Do you know what a bonus family is? I’ve just found out by watching the Swedish television drama Bonus Family on Netflix. It tells the story of Lisa and Patrick a couple who have fallen in love and moved in together. Both Lisa and Patrick share custody of their respective children with their former spouses.
Bonus family is meant to be a positive term. Children whose parents move on to second partners gain a bonus parent, bonus siblings and a bonus family. One of the show’s producers explains that in Sweden “we don’t say step-dad or step-mom anymore because it has a negative connotation; instead we say ‘bonus dad’ or ‘bonus mom’.”
But adjusting to life in a bonus family is often far from positive and the television series Bonus Family does not sugarcoat just how incredibly difficult it can be to merge two families, to share custody of children, to handle finances after a divorce, to co-parent one another’s kids, and handle grandparents who are having a hard time adjusting to the bonus in-laws they have suddenly inherited.
Lisa and Patrick end up going to counselling sessions to help them deal with all the difficulties inherent in creating a bonus family.
Bonus Family addresses a serious issue in a serious way but there are also some very funny moments and viewers grow to really care about all the characters. If you are looking for a new Netflix series to watch I can recommend Bonus Family.