Saturday, September 17, 2016

The stepfamily defined

The traditional definition of a stepfamily presumes that children live full-time within a particular household.

For example, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines stepfamilies as “…those formed when parents re-partner following separation, and where there is at least one step child of either member of the couple present.” (ABS, 2003: 6).

The problem with such a definition is that it fails to recognise the changing pathways that lead to stepfamilies in modern Australia, where stepparent-child relationships often cross household boundaries (Qu & Weston, 2005).

For example, this definition fails to include families in which children reside in the household part-time, or stepfamilies where the non-resident parent has re-partnered (Qu & Weston, 2005).

An additional problem is the use of confusing terminology. For example, ‘blended family’ is often used as a pseudonym for ‘stepfamily’.

On the other hand, the ABS makes a distinction between stepfamily and blended family: a blended family contains a stepchild, but also a child born to both parents (ABS, 2003).

One New Zealand study used refinements of the term – a ‘partial blended family’ comprised children of one parent only and a ‘full blended family’ had children of both parents.

Children born to the couple were not included in the definition (Dharmalingam, Pool, Sceats & Mackay, 2004, p. 72).

Other terms used to describe families are reconstituted, remarried, repartnered, merged, instant or synergistic instead of stepfamily, and ‘social parent’ may be used instead of stepparent.

SAVI considers a useful definition of stepfamily to be inclusive, making no distinction about gender, residence or amount of contact with children, and focusing on its unique structure.

SAVI defines a stepfamily as a family of two adults in a formal or informal marriage where at least one of the adults has children from a previous relationship. There may be children from the current union.

Children may live-in full-time or part-time or may not currently have contact. This definition does not distinguish between dependent and independent children.

Friday, September 2, 2016

I love him, but not his kids - My wiki

Alex Thomas is rather different to many other stepmothers for one
simple reason: she is prepared to confess to the extent of her feelings,
or rather, the lack of them, towards her stepchildren.

As she will tell you, the best-kept secret of step-parenting is
that just because you fall for your partner, it doesn't mean you'll take
to their children.

The truth is, you're more likely not to. One wonders why it is such a crime to admit to such a universal reality?

We're not supposed to unconditionally love our partner's parents,
after all, so why should their offspring be a different matter?

As step-families are the fastest-rising family form we have, why
is it so difficult to admit to the ambivalence so many of us experience


I love him, but not his kids - My wiki:  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Addressing the Challenges of Stepfamily Life

This exploratory study sought to identify the major challenges of stepfamily life and the strategies that families use to address these challenges.

Parents, stepparents and older stepchildren from a community sample of 44 stepfamilies who had been together for at least five years participated in the study.

Measures of several aspects of family functioning indicated that most stepfamilies in the study were functioning well, although some were facing significant stressors that were negatively affecting family functioning.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Common Step Family Problems

“Yours, mine and ours” makes for an amusing movie plot, but it doesn’t assure a harmonious home. With so many different kinds of families these days, you would think we’d know how to make it work, but we don’t.

It’s a challenge to be a stepparent, no matter how good your intentions are. Maybe we’ve seen too many “wicked stepmother” stories that there’s an assumption of the stepparent as being the enemy. As soon as a new “parent’ arrives in the family, the children start carving out territory.

Then the adults get in on the act. Before long, the battle lines are drawn. As the kids struggle to defeat the stepparent, their biological parent is emotionally torn between kids and new spouse.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Marriage Done Right: Step-families and 'The Brady Bunch' myth

First, the bad news: Nearly half (about 45 percent) of marriages are remarriages. Second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages (about 60 percent).

And, despite what you may think from "The Brady Bunch," if children are involved, the divorce rate in second marriages is 50 percent higher than for those without children.

Now, the good news: If you are in a step-family, there are some things you can do to greatly improve your chances of success. For the next few weeks we will be looking at the issue of step-families and some tips on how to help them work.

Ron Deal, in his book, "The Smart Step-Family," points out several realities that most couples who remarry overlook. Before we look at what couples can do to improve their chances in a step-family setting, it's important to understand four of the most common unrealistic expectations many couples cling to as they approach marriage for the second time.

Read more...—myth


How to Find Stepfamily Harmony

Stepfamilies are the fastest growing type of family in the UK, but in many ways they represent the wild west of family life. There are no clear rules, very little advice and few good role models (especially in fairy tales).

I found this out for myself both as a psychologist studying stepmothers and personally, when I met my now husband, who had an 18-month-old son from his previous marriage, while I had a three-year-old son and a daughter aged six. I went into these new circumstances thinking - ‘I’m already a mum, how hard can it be?’


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Smart Stepdad: Steps to Help You Succeed

The Smart Stepdad: Steps to Help You SucceedAs a stepdad, you've taken on a heroic challenge. Leading stepfamily expert Ron Deal equips you to navigate the stepparenting minefield with
· Everyday advice on how to connect with your stepchildren, be a godly role model, and maintain a strong bond with your wife
· Perspective on what the kids are going through--and why things don't work the same as in a biological family
· Wisdom for handling tricky issues such as discipline, dealing with your wife's ex, and hugging your stepdaughter
Two chapters for your wife to read and tips for her throughout the book will help the two of you work as a team. This is the survival guide that every stepfather needs to succeed.

About the Author
Ron is a marriage and family author, speaker, and therapist. He is Founder and President of Smart Stepfamilies and Director of Blended Family Ministries for FamilyLife

The Smart Stepdad: Steps to Help You Succeed