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Archive for February, 2011

Stepfamilies Can Live Happily Ever After

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:45 PM
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

By Alvaro Castillo

Stepfamilies can live happily ever after. Is it easy? No it is not. Judging by the nearly 66% divorce rate among remarried families. Does that mean it isn’t possible? No. Is it worth it? Yes, it is. Take it from experienced stepfamilies.

“Falling in love, getting married and dreaming ‘we’ would all live happily ever after was the easy part of step-parenting. The challenges came when we up rooted children from their homes and communities and placed them into the unknown, not even aware of their hurts and losses. We began living with children only a parent could love and found many problems and much stress,” one couple said.

The challenges a couple will face when putting two families together can be formidable. They can include things like:

* Children still grieving for the loss of their original family.

* Children who are not ready to accept another adult in a parental role.

* Trying to find time to nurture a new marriage in the midst of the chaos created by bringing two families (often unwillingly) together.

* Blending parenting styles.  Couples come together with different expectations of children, rules of acceptable behavior and emotional ties.

* Trying to provide mutual and agreed-upon parental guidance to all the children in the family can be difficult.

Ron Deal, a nationally recognized authority on helping stepfamilies be successful, compares bonding a stepfamily with cooking in a crock-pot: It takes a great deal of time and low heat to bring the ingredients together. The term “blended” family often adds to the confusion and disappointment because members of a stepfamily rarely blend quickly into one smooth mixture and this is just not the case.

In successful stepfamilies, former relationships between children and their natural parents are respected while the natural parent slowly opens the door for the stepparent to become part of the mix. The end result can be a group of people living together who have come to value and respect each other and who can live together in harmony.

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