Stepfamilies comprise 50% of families in America today. While there can be great opportunities for growth, there are different dynamics within stepfamilies that can become stumbling blocks. Less-than-effective communication skills, poor conflict management, unrealistic expectations, and lack of empathy often get in the way of the new family formation being successful.
Many parents are highly concerned about the children who may have already suffered from the divorce and may be having difficulty adjusting to the new dynamics. While there are multiple factors to consider that can help, one of the most helpful gifts you can give to the children is to strengthen the new marriage relationship. When problems arise, the couple relationship often gets lost in the shuffle. This can lead to problems including mistrusting one another or looking down on the other for how they handle parenting issues. This can cause additional strain a family system that may already be difficult to maneuver.
If you are stepparents, what can you do to strengthen your relationship and offer this gift? Set aside time for one another to enjoy each other. Remember and experience the reasons that brought you together in the first place. This may be as simple as 10 minutes a day talking about each other’s day as well as your thoughts, feelings, concerns, and desires. Do something together that you can both look forward to. Plan even a short date to connect with one another.
Strengthening the parent-child bond is very important (and we know how to help people do that), but both parents in the stepfamily can offer a gift of stability to the children and to one another by strengthening the marital bond.
IDEALS for Families and Communities is offering a Saturday workshop called Successful Stepfamilies. This workshop will help give couples valuable information and tools to help them be successful.
Register for our upcoming workshop on Saturday, October 5th.