Portland Marriage Counselor helps Stepfamilies Succeed

April 21, 2011 by

As a Portland marriage counselor I know that stepfamilies have a set of unique challenges. Stepfamilies are always born of loss and the children most acutely feel the pain of the divorce. The children in a blended family may act out negatively as they struggle with the loss. “It takes both parties-children and adults-to build positive relationships in stepfamilies”, say researchers. A recent study quoted in Science Daily found that stepchildren responded the most positively to the stepparent when the following factors were present.

Stepfamilies Can Find Peace says Portland Marriage Counselor

Stepchildren build their opinions about the stepparent based on their perceived benefits of the stepparent. If the child sees the stepparent as adding emotional or financial benefits to the family, then the child will be accepting and positive. Here is where good communication comes in. As a Portland marriage counselor I know that the parents in the stepfamily must have a strong bond and good communication. From that good bond and communication flows a sense of security and well being to the children. That is the sort of emotional benefit that children easily recognize.

The stepparent first and foremost must develop a FRIENDSHIP with the stepchildren. The new parent cannot rush in and discipline or even guide the child. That relationship must be developed over years of interacting. Again, communication is key here…between the parents and within the family. A wise stepparent will not rush in and discipline, but will need to talk openly, respectfully and vulnerably to their spouse about the stepchildren’s behaviors.

The biological parents have a very strong impact on the stepchild’s perception of the stepparent. If other third parents such as biological parents, grandparents or siblings are disparaging about the stepparent it will be more difficult for the family to blend comfortably. In this case it is essential to find professional help for the blending couple and for the children. These sorts of factors test the limits of your communication abilities and most of us cannot face the problems alone.

If you are having difficulty with your communication and conflict style in your blended family, let us help. 60-80% of remarriages end in divorce. Visit a Portland marriage counselor to learn the tools and beat the odds! Visit our website for free resources so we can start helping you now.