step family

Relationship Therapy for Step Families

Submitted by Richard on Thu, 04/29/2010 - 14:00

Step Families 

step families

If you have recently started a new relationship and you or your partner has children here are a few things to bear in mind about being in a step family:

  • There can be great hopes of forming a new harmonious family without appreciating the inevitable conflicts that step families bring.
  • There may be conflicts of loyalties between each partner wanting to bond with each other while having existing loyalties to their children.
  • The children are often given too much power by their parents in an attempt keep a loving bond.
  • The children  angry at one of their parents for the breakup of the original family and tend to show this by not getting on with the new step parent.
  • The children tend to test out their power and attempt to exploit any weakness or division between their parent and their partner.
  • The children from each of the step families can be rivalous for attention and feel displaced.
  •  Often the step parent has all the responsibility and yet none of the authority with the step children.
    The children may take time to accept the step parent as they tend to see the step parent as an impostor responsible for  breaking up the original family and may feel threatened that the step parent is displacing the role of the missing parent.

What helps in dealing with step family issues.

  • Realise that there are going to be conflicts of interest where it is impossible to please everyone. Sometimes "tough love" is required so the children realize that they don’t have the power to disrupt the relationship between you and your new partner. Accepting that not everyone is going to be happy with the decisions you make will prevent you from taking on the anger that comes from split families.
  • If you are the new step parent try to form your own relationship with the step kids where it is clear you are not attempting to replace the missing parent. Give the step children time to accept you rather than trying hard to get them to like you. A step parent needs to accept that they are on the outside of the
    relationship between their partner and their partner’s children.
  • As the new couple communicate the issues as they come up between you and prioritise taking care of what you need to nourish in your relationship. If you do this, the children will more quickly accept you are a couple and accept the new family setup.
  • If you are having difficulties consider relationship therapy

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