Building a Happy Stepfamily

The stepfamily is a special kind of family. The backgrounds and lived experiences each person brings to the stepfamily should be valued. Although enriching, it can also be very challenging. Partners can forget that their new family is formed out of loss. Although they may be excited about the love they bring to this family, their children need time to adjust. Their children may be sad, depressed or even angry.

No one in the family experiences more loss than the children when parents divorce. They had no choice in their parents’ decision to end their marriage and now to remarry. In most cases, they have lost daily contact with one parent. They may have moved, which may have led to a change in schools, teachers and friends. They may even have to give up their own room to now share with a stepsibling.  In some cases, they may feel like they’ve also lost their parent’s attention.

Creating a cohesive and happy stepfamily is not impossible, but it does take time. Caught up in their own excitement, parents can lose sight of the fact that the children involved in this new union require patience, understanding and lots of love.

It may be helpful for the parents and possibly the children to seek professional help to guide them through the transition.

Suggested reading:

STRENGTHENING YOUR STEPFAMILY – Elizabeth Einstein and Linda Albert

WONDERFUL WAY TO BE A STEPPARENT – Judy Ford

STEP COUPLING: CREATING AND SUSTAINING A STRONG MARRIAGE IN TODAY’S BLENDED FAMILY – Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green