Step Families

When you and your spouse live together with the children from one or both of your previous relationships, you establish a blended family or stepfamily. The experience of creating a new mixed family may be both gratifying and challenging. While you, as parents, are likely to be pleased about starting a new family, your children or your new spouse's children may not be. They may be unsure how the future changes will influence their connections with their biological parents. They'll also be concerned about living with new stepsiblings, some of whom they may not know well.

Stepfamilies or blended families can create challenges for both parents and children, as family members are urged to accommodate a number of changes. Children may face difficulty adapting to different parenting styles and family routines. In addition, children from blended families often experience stress brought on by visitations, contact and conflict between biological parents and step-parents, or conflict with step siblings.

Adults, who are planning to remarry or cohabitate with children from previous relationships, are likely to experience problems in their current relationships. Through therapy, family members can expect to attend most sessions as a group or individually, supplemental sessions for each child or with one/both parent(s).

While mixing families is never easy, therapy can assist your new family in navigating the transition. You may create a close link with your new stepchildren and form a loving and successful blended family with open communication, mutual respect, and plenty of love and patience, no matter how strained or difficult things appear at first. It's critical to start planning how the new family will work before blending households to give your stepfamily the best chance of building a healthy relationship.

1Why can blended families fail?
  • Partners do not work as teams
  • Lack of communication
  • False expectations
  • Lack of compromise
  • Jealousy and sibling rivalry
  • Lack of preparation
  • What challenges do stepfamilies face? The children may reject the new companion.
  • Problems may arise as a result of different parenting techniques
  • Jealousy is a common issue in blended households
  • Children's emotional issues
2Who comes first in stepfamilies?

Every step family's relationships start "out of balance." A couple becomes parents together, as the normal cycle of family bonds begins. The couple's relationship takes precedence. The relationship between parents and children comes in second.