Coping with the past

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It is important to allow for past experiences as much as possible. For example, children who were exposed to violence in their original family may take a long time to be able to really trust a new step-parent. This has nothing to do with the step-parent, but is a legacy of the past.

It is often tempting to not talk about the past as it holds painful memories. Yet it is best for the new partner to know about past difficulties. Children should also know if they are old enough.

This helps to minimise secrets and taboo topics of conversation, both of which can lead to tension and difficulty. The new stepfamily also needs to work out ways of coping with contact between children and their other parent.

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