Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smart Stepdad, The: Steps to Help You Succeed

While resources abound for stepmothers, stepfathers are often left to travel a difficult road without clear directions. Ron Deal offers advice for men navigating the stepfamily minefield, including how to connect with stepchildren, being a godly role model, how to discipline, dealing with the biological dad, and keeping the bond strong with one's new spouse.

He gives perspective on what the kids are going through and why things don't work the same as in a biological family. The Smart Stepdad provides essential guidelines to help stepfathers not only survive but succeed as both dad and husband.

Source: Smart Stepdad, The: Steps to Help You Succeed

Stepparenting in Gay and Lesbian Families

Important among the wide variety of stepfamilies are the families formed by the same sex partners with children from a previous marriage or a previous relationship. Gay and lesbian stepfamilies bring to their system both the usual stepfamily issues and the additional challenges faced by homosexual individuals, partners, and parents in a heterosexual, homophobic society. These sources of stress often interact resulting in problems with communication leading to difficulties with roles, identities, and co-parenting alliances.

For example, Adrienne, a high school teacher, is concerned about the reports coming home from the elementary school about her partner's daughter, Stacey. Stacey's mother, Elaine, defends Stacey and thinks Adrienne has too high expectations. As they discuss their concerns, both know it would be helpful if they talked jointly with Stacey's teacher, so that they could both ask questions and hear what he has to say. However, Adrienne has not come out to her employer or colleagues about her sexual orientation.

She is concerned about a case in a neighboring school district in which a colleague lost his job when a parent reported that he was gay. She also feels vulnerable because she is new to this system and has not yet gained tenure. If they present themselves to Stacey's teacher as a couple, Adrienne's job may be at risk. Elaine is also concerned because Stacey's teacher seems to be very conservative and traditional in the material he presents to the children. She worries about his prejudices making it difficult for him to treat Stacey fairly.

Read more: National Stepfamily Resource Center

Step is not a four letter word

Many of our notions about second marriage families are based on hypothetical comparisons to an idealized form of the nuclear family. For instance, many people believe, even if they don't come right out and say it, that divorce is caused by personal failure in the relationship.

It is as if we now have the legal, but not the moral, right to divorce. What is not talked about is that divorce is also a function of our increased life span. In 1850, it is estimated that life expectancy was about 40 years. For those born in 1990, life expectancy is about 80 years. This gives us a substantially longer time "til death do us part." The average length of marriage in the late 1700's was 7 years, because one of the spouses died. (Ironically the contemporary average length of time between marriage and divorce in the U.S. is also 7 years.)

Also, given the short life spans of our ancestors, second marriages were very common. In fact, 100 years ago, 20-30% of marriages were second marriages, just as they are today. Traditions for remarriage varied across religious and cultural groups. Some advocated remarrying immediately to have the "best" results, others suggested waiting one year. Whatever the arrangement, stepfamiiies were an important group in the community.

Read more: National Stepfamily Resource Center

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Step Family Challenges

Stepfamilies and blended families operate in a different way to intact biological families. The dynamics of a stepfamily are more complex and there is a need for special understanding and management from both biological and stepparents working together for a healthy stepfamily growth to happen. In this workshop you will:

  • find out what is and what isn’t helpful
  • learn how to grow a strong and loving couple relationship
  • learn how to manage discipline and understand the needs of the children and
  • have an opportunity to address particular issues within the group.
Source: Step Family Challenges

Fathering after Separation - Western Australia

It’s important for fathers to distinguish between their parenting
role and the relationship break-up. This seminar, held in a male-only
environment, suggests ways in which fathers can keep in touch with
children, even if hindered by formal access arrangements. This seminar
looks at:

  • developing age-appropriate communication skills;
  • particular skills with child/children to cope with different space and time;
  • developing and communicating a functional and distinctly
    parent-focussed relationship with the mother of their child/children and
  • enhancing your own health and well-being.

Source: Fathering after Separation

Living in a Step Family - Western Australia

Couples with children from previous relationships may need strategies.

Strategies on communication, agreement on discipline – who spells out the rules and what the rules are – and on handling competing demands. It is just as important for couples to ensure that in a busy week there is time just for each other.

The six-week course covers

  • the differences and uniqueness inherent in step families
  • the need to let go of the past in order to devise mutual expectations, which requires good communication skills
  • parents’ roles and challenges in the step family, and the need to establish positive biological and step-parent roles
  • what children experience and how they cope in step families
  • nurturing the couple bond and development of conflict resolution skills particular to the step family experience
  • charting of step family stages and the building of new step family traditions.
Source: Living in a Step Family

Ex-Wives and Ex-Lives: Survival Guide for the Next Wife

Product Description

A candid (albeit at times tongue-in-cheek) expose of the challenges of remarriage, told from the second wife's perspective. Unlike books written by those who have never experienced being a second wife, the author of Ex-Wives and Ex-Lives is an ex-wife, a second wife, a bio-mom, and a stepmother.

Reading this book is like sitting down with an old friend - a remarried friend who knows first-hand what you are going through. You will come away with the assurance that you are not alone in your struggles as a second wife. Even more, you will know that it is not you that is crazy, but rather the crazy-making situation called remarriage.

About the Author

Paula Egner has authored many on-line articles about remarriage, stepparenting, and life as a second wife. She is currently working on her second book on remarriage. She is also the author of - If There Be None - a women's mainstream novel (available on

Source: Ex-Wives and Ex-Lives: Survival Guide for the Next Wife (9780975296400): Paula J Egner: Books