Stepfamiles come in many forms and involve children of all ages. Adult "children" can have just as much difficulty adjusting as younger children do. Stepfamilies don't work in the same way as biological families,and very few people realize this until they are part of one.
Your stepfamily could be an expanded community of caring individuals who lovingly share helpful skills, wise insights and balanced perspectives...IT IS POSSIBLE! It takes a well thought out strategy, consistent effort and TIME to get the entire family "in-step.” This will help create successful relationships that have the resilience to work well long term.
To find out how our In-Step-Families Strategies can positively change your life, the lives of your children, stepchildren and your extended family, please read on...
Parents should understand that ALL stepfamilies are created from loss, be it divorce or death. A first marriage is made of dreams and expectations, and even though you may have chosen to leave, by doing so, you lose those dreams.
The children have NO choice in the matter and have lost their dreams too. They need to be reassured that their parent is not replacing THEM, especially when a new partner is bringing children into the "family."
The children, regardless of age, will take their anger out on those who are the least important or most threatening to them: the step parent and step siblings. The parent should have the same compassion for their behavior and perspectives that you’d have for anyone recently bereaved. Do not expect the children to be as happy about this marriage as you are. It is challenging to remember their loss amidst the excitement and hope of a new marriage.
The couple must be committed to working together, as their ties to their children are stronger and longer, than their ties to each other. Strengthening the couple relationship is essential and has to be done carefully.
Building a relationship with step children is like navigating uncharted seas. Stepfamily relationships don’t come naturally. Without the guidance of an experienced navigator, you can rarely reach your destination, nor get back to shore. We have extensive expertise in navigating these seas. There's no need for you to hit a reef or just drift miserably.
The role of the stepparent is undefined. It's up to you to create it, and to do that you need to understand where and how you add value to your stepfamily.
Most people in stepfamilies say they never imagined it would be so difficult. They feel confused and find it challenging to remain rational. They are using systems that work well in biological families, but don't work at all in stepfamilies. This leads to hurt feelings, frustration, failure and hopelessness.
The loyalty bind..the relationship between the other parent and child can make the child feel guilty for liking the stepparent,more so if that parent is unhappy.