CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – For people who get remarried and have children from a previous relationship, it can be difficult to blend their new family successfully. Dr. Rob Robinson, Clinical Director of Family Care Counseling Associates in Wilbraham, shared tips for strengthening step families.
Strengthening Tips for a blended family
1. Resolve any leftover anger, resentment and hurt from your previous marriage or relationship. Carrying unresolved anger into as new relationship will seriously impact your happiness and connection to your new partner. It is important to learn the difference between a LEGAL divorce and an EMOTIONAL divorce.
2. Get rid of the BRADY BUNCH SYNDROME. Certainly the temptation for new couple with children from a previous relationship is to think that we’ll get married and all live happily ever after. This fantasy smells like a new car and fades about as fast. The Brady Bunch Syndrome lures couples into expecting too much too soon without giving respect to the challenging steps of step family development. It takes an average of 7 years for a stepfamily to finally get its act together and feel ok. Having unrealistic expectations about what lies ahead can cause many stepparents to give up too soon and blame themselves for the challenges that exist.
3. The BOND between a biological parent and their biological child is often stronger than the bond between the two stepparents.
4. Stepparents need to take care of one another and spend time connecting in order to build their relationship and weather the challenges that come as a normal part of stepfamily life. Discuss.
5. The role of the new stepparent is not to replace the other child’s parent but to create a friendship with the other parent’s children. Each parent should handle the discipline for their own children.