Any loyal reader of this column knows this common theme: Being a stepparent is hard.
But you know what is also hard? Being the spouse of a stepparent. Think about it. A divorced man or woman with kids falls in love again and envisions a renewed life of bliss. Then they realize that they are pulled in many different directions. The Ex could be demanding, the kids are mostly likely going through many emotional challenges . . . and then there is this new person with whom they want to rebuild their life. But that person is having challenges of their own adjusting to their partner’s Ex being demanding and the kids who are going through the emotional challenges and trying to fit into this new family. And there could be so much more layered on top: kids of their owns, Exes of their own, having to move into a new home, and so on.
The key to overcoming these challenges, while certainly complicated, all boil down to two key things. First and foremost, it is critical to have an understanding of what issues are present in this particular family. There are certainly common themes, but each family brings a unique twist. Second, each partner must communicate honestly about what they are feeling and experiencing and they should be able to do so without feeling judged by the other. A stepfamily is not the same as an original family. It’s foolish to think so. Once the differences are identified, there needs to be a plan as to how to deal with them. None of this simple and none of it is “one and done.” Just as it is with trying to keep any relationship healthy, it is an on-going process. The stepparent needs the understanding support of the biological parent and vice versa. Remember, it’s a partnership.
FamilyKind, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families cope with separation, divorce and recoupling, is holding a workshop where you can learn about the basic differences between an original family and a stepfamily, the associated challenges and some ways to deal with them.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
11:00am – 2:00pm
Upper West Side (call for exact location)
$150 per couple
For more information and to register:
Call 646-580-4735 or email info@FamilyKind.org
Yes, stepparenting is hard. But there are ways to make it easier. Register today.
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