Marriage Counselors in Portland, Oregon on 5 Secrets of Successful Step Families

June 11, 2010 by

Marriage counselors in Portland, Oregon, work regularly with step family issues in order to help couples succeed at remarriage.  The divorce rate in couples who remarry with children is even higher that the rate for first marriages. There is an excellent collection of free resources for step families at the website , Empowering Parents, including a great article on the 5 Secrets of Successful Step Parenting.

Experts who help step families know what a challenge it can be. The new family is created from the loss of the original family and the children involved are sad, hurt and angry.  Their feelings have nothing to do with you personally, but it feels personal.

The role of step parent takes time to develop, up to five years.  The number one mistake is to immediately assume the role of parent. You married the child’s parent, not the child. They did not choose you, so play your cards right and give them the time necessary to come around to that choice.

Marriage Counselors in Portland, Oregon, see success from following 5 guidelines

Experts know that step families face huge challenges, and need guidelines such as these to help:

  1. Defer to the Bio-parent: You must be the good cop and let the bio-parent be the bad cop. When discipline is necessary let your spouse handle it and give them your support.  Do yourself a favor and take a back seat, as hard as that sounds. Let the bio-parent be the expert.
  2. Don’t compete with your counter-part: Don’t compete with the person whom you share your role with, i.e. if you are the step mom don’t try to do a better job that the bio-mom. Back her up, and respect and acknowledge the strength of the biological connection.
  3. Discover your step child’s interests: Marriage counselors in Portland, Oregon, advise stepparents to start off as you would in any friendship, by exploring your common interests. Invite the step child to do things together and make them fun, not parental.
  4. Get out of the way: Give your spouse and the step children one-on-one time without you. This is a normal need and if the family were intact, hopefully both parents would have this type of time with the kids. Children should not be deprived of one-on-one time because their parent remarried.
  5. Act lovingly even if you don’t like your step kids: Every marriage counselor knows that love is a decision followed by a million actions and choices. You may never love them like your own, but you can act lovingly each and every day. It is always the right thing to do.

If you struggle with problems in your step family visit the Empowering Parents website and read the full article, the five secrets of successful step parenting.  Visit our free resources for more relationship tips and if you are looking for a marriage counselor in Portland, Oregon, then give us a call at the Portland Relationship Center.