A blended family or step family comes together when two individuals decide to spend a life together with the children from either one or both of their previous relationships. While the two individuals as parents are likely to approach remarriage, being together and a new family with great joy and expectation, the stepchild or children may not be nearly as excited or even prepared.
According to the recent consensus, 1300 new stepfamilies are forming every day. Over 50% of US families are remarried or re-coupled. The average marriage in America lasts only seven years. One out of two marriages ends in divorce. 75% Americans remarry, 66% of those living together or remarried break up, when children are involved.
If we are still finding it hard to manage our emotions and wish to talk to someone we don’t know and who doesn’t know us, it can help to seek help from professionals who can provide Blended Family Help. It can help to seek online counseling or online therapy. Don’t feel afraid to search for family counseling in the USA.
There can be a variety of situations that may cause blended family problems/ stepfamily problems.
In some stepfamilies, new adults and step kids seem to fit in easily, as though they’ve been tailor-made for each other. Whereas some families brought together through re-marriage can be so apart that the best everyone can do is grit their teeth and work hard to get through one day at a time. That is where online counseling can intervene and help.
What may be the reasons for making it difficult for children to adjust to a new Blended Family, and how relationship therapy can help uncomplicate?
1) A stereotype that exists everywhere around the world that step parents are the “evil” or “mean” parents which may make us start with a mindset that our step parent is a bad “stepmom” or a “bad stepdad” this is an unhelpful mindset to have when starting out a new relationship.
2) When a step-parent comes into our life, it has been our parent’s decision, not ours. Which may make us feel:
- Not involved, angry, sad, for not being involved in the decision making, yet involved in the consequences
- Forced into a relationship
- Not prepared or ready for a change
- Angry or sad that our opinion wasn’t asked before bringing this change to our life
3) Another reason it can be really hard to accept a new step-parents into our life is that very often we feel that they seem to be trying to replace our biological parents.
4) We might feel a lot of pressure from our parents or our own self to be a happy entity or a happy family immediately or as soon as possible.
5) Either we feel scared or we actually notice a distance coming in between us and our parents. It may be created by either or both sides, us and/or the parent. When our parent gives attention to our Step Parent it can be very natural for us to feel jealous, a breach of our trust, that have been dealt with injustice.
6) We find it difficult to share our concerns with a parent, and find ourself feeling a “Me V/s them” scenario at home.
7)We may even feel lonely. We may feel that we are alone battling through these struggles and challenges. We may feel we are all alone here.
8) The fear that the new Stepparent may have Different Rules, or may punish us too often
9) The constant feeling what if I Don’t Like My Step parent
10) The confusion that what should be the rights that we give to our step parent, what are their responsibility. Am I setting the right boundaries?
How to Deal with Step Parents?
1. Accepting our parent’s choice. Thinking about why they have chosen to bring someone and how much happier it must make your parent be with your new stepparent. Instead of worrying about the “what ifs” and the inevitable changes, talking to our mom or dad about what to expect before our new stepparent joins the family can help us be prepared for what lies ahead.
2. Realizing that Step parents are not themselves looking forward towards taking the role of a biological parent and may want us to know that our parents come first; and they might be willing to be friends, not replacements. Thus, giving them a benefit of the doubt and being open and accepting, respectful towards them.
3. Trusting, loving, caring for and bonding with someone is not an overnight process. Building a new relationship may it be any relationship takes time and work, so neither take nor put too much pressure to be instantly close with a new stepparent.
4. Making an effort to connect, for example, Sitting with our stepparent and learning a little about them, ask their likes and dislikes etc. Pointing out or elaborating on the things we have in common. Inviting them to join us while going somewhere.
5. Trying to do something our step parent said they liked, it may require a huge amount of effort, such as trying something we’re not really into, but the relationship will benefit from the effort to connect greatly.
6. Making new, additional routines and rituals can be an excellent way to form an identity as a new family unit. Example: Regular intervalled trips to a particular place we both like, such as the beach, or a sports match. Or watching a TV show we both like together.
7. Choosing to call our step parent with a name that reflects fondness rather than step-something. This does not mean we have to call her Mom or Dad at all! We could perhaps call them our Bonus Mom, or a first name or a kindly nickname.
8. Change like this can be very upsetting and difficult to deal with, so we definitely shouldn’t give ourself a hard time about feeling awkward, confused and conflicted about everything. It can work wonders to do what you can to help things, but it’s perfectly normal to take your time to be ready and to feel upset and a rollercoaster of emotions.
9. Try maintaining a reciprocal stance which is polite and civil at all times especially during an argument. It’s much harder to develop a good relationship if we start with disrespect and rudeness.
10. As with any relationship, there will be ups and downs so let’s try to enjoy the good moments, and not get knocked down by the bad ones.
Because everyone’s situation is unique, there are no generalized answers to accepting a stepparent. Some people find themselves with a new step parent after a parent has died, others after parents have divorced or separated. Some parents take years to meet someone they connect with and get married some remarry almost immediately.
If you are feeling awkward, confused and conflicted about everything when a stepparent joins the family, family counselling can help uncomplicate the gaps between you and your step parent.
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