Forming united and peaceful stepfamilies is not impossible.
Stepfamily Success–Jonah Green and Associates | Child and …
The prospect of beginning a stepfamily can be exhilarating, especially because they often form in the wake of losses such as divorce or death. Couples that are successful in forming stepfamilies combine their enthusiasm with a conscious, step-by-step process that takes into account the complexity of the family structure and the diverse needs of each family member.
Stepfamilies present a number of challenges for both adults and children. Conflict with the “other household”, a lack of clarity about the roles of step parents, and feelings of loss and loyalty conflict among stepchildren all can impede family harmony and cohesion.
Couples that take the following steps are more likely to succeed in forming cohesive, harmonious stepfamilies:
Stepfamily life can be successful, especially if couples follow a deliberate, step-by-step process. Therapists with training and experience in stepfamily dynamics can help families pace themselves, meet the needs of both adults and children, and lay the groundwork for a cohesive and secure family environment.
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What are the pillars or foundation for successful step families?
Foundations for a Successful Stepfamily | MU Extension
The prospect of building a stepfamily can evoke feelings of excitement, relief, nervousness and worry all at the same time. Experiencing a wide variety of feelings is normal and common. Building a successful stepfamily requires significant energy and commitment, so partners should talk about expectations for each other and their new family before and after marriage. Such dialogues address important issues and can help avoid serious problems down the road. Realistic expectations and goals are crucial to creating a healthy, successful stepfamily. Time spent wisely during courtship can lay a foundation for positive stepfamily relationships.
This guide is part of a series aimed at helping families in which parents are separated or divorcing and who share parenting responsibilities for children. We will use the terms divorce and separation interchangeably to describe parents who are separated from each other.
Beginning a new relationship, especially a marriage, requires careful consideration of several questions:
People get married or remarried for a variety of valid reasons. Partners should discuss their motives for wanting to marry, because they might differ. Likewise, an understanding of and respect for each other’s basic values and priorities is essential to the success of any relationship.
Losing a spouse through death or the dissolution of a previous marriage is usually accompanied by strong feelings such as intense sadness, anger or guilt. Each person in the prospective marriage needs time to heal before entering another marriage, or the adjustment to stepfamily life will likely be much more difficult. Individuals should assess their feelings about former partners and honestly consider how those feelings affect their present relationship.
The following seven tips for step family success are for you to consider.
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Seven Tips for Stepfamily Success
The stakes are high in marriage for those looking to get it right the second time around. While remarriage can heal the scars of divorce and blended families can provide newfound hope and optimism, recent statistics show that over 60% of second marriages fail. As ominous as this sounds, there are key steps you and your partner can take to maintain a happy remarriage.
In his book Stepfamilies, James Bray found that at the heart of every well-functioning blended family is a stable and happy marriage, and research by The Gottman Institute found that the strength of a couple’s relationship ultimately determines the family’s success.
Remarried couples need a strong foundation of trust and communication in order to buffer the challenges that arise from stepfamily life, and with the understanding that marriage satisfaction determines stepfamily stability, a loving and well-adjusted stepfamily is possible when couples commit to taking the time and action necessary to get there.
Read More: Seven Tips for Stepfamily Success
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