Some issues of a blended family
From Tips and Steps
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The blended family must confront a great many issues, what are the most common ones.
Loyalty Conflicts--Parents in remarried families often want to minimise the influence of the absent parent and hope that the children bond to and accept discipline from the stepparent. Children resist being what they may consider "disloyal" to the absent parent and often sabotage the stepparent's efforts to control them.
Jealousy--Jealousy issues abound in the blended family! Children in blended families, for example, often lose the unique positions they occupied in their original family. The baby of the family may become the middle child, or the only girl may become one of several girls. On top of all this, children must adjust to a parent whose time is occupied by a new spouse and new children.
Boundary Issues--Parents often need help in setting and implementing clear boundaries with and among blended family members. A common problem is that of a teenage girl and a new stepfather. The teen's distancing behavior (little conversation with parents, increased time with peer groups, testing new behaviors), though developmentally appropriate, may fly in the face of newly blended parents' attempts at closeness and cohesion. Parents need to understand that slamming doors and storming off in a huff are ways to keep distance that help both teen and stepfather reduce sexual tensions that may be under the surface, unrecognised by either.
Sadness and loss, a history interrupted, changes in residence or schools, fear of the unknown, feeling unheard or misunderstood, anger, and denial are some of the issues and feelings explored in therapy with blended families and individuals within blended families. Family members need to learn and experience the reality that expressing their feelings more often enhances rather than jeopardises these new relationships. They eventually realise that the energy they put into hiding, discounting or inappropriately acting-out their feelings could be better channeled into discussion and relationship-building.
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