Blending After Divorce
Adele Cornish, BSW
If you or your partner been through a divorce, here’s some advice for your blended family:
I get many stepparents telling me their partner wants their blended family to function in the same way a first marriage does where both biological parents are present. Having gone through a broken relationship, they hope to recreate the experience of a nuclear family again by expecting their partner, the new stepmom or stepfather to fulfil all the roles and duties of a biological parent with the same passion.
After divorce children continue to have a natural loyalty towards their biological parents whom they gain their sense of identity from. A stepmom or stepfather generally cannot replicate the emotional bond with a step child that exists between a biological parent and child. This is almost certainly the case when a child has regular access to both parents. They will continue to depend on their parent to fulfill their emotional need for love, security and sense of self worth. For this reason, stepparents who expect to fulfill their step child’s emotional needs will often experience disappointment.
We can expect a stepparent’s relationship and role with a stepchild to be different from a biological parent’s but not in a negative sense. Stepparents can over time form a special and unique bond with their stepchildren despite the absence of the “feeling” of love in the early years of their relationship.
Children in blended families can benefit from and be positively influenced by all the adults in their lives, be they blood related or not. They can grow to become well-adjusted healthy adults within the supportive and nurturing context of a blended family.
Parenting in a blended family is often difficult but you can make it easier by using some specific skills and strategies. The following topics plus many more are covered in the Blending Lives Program
Help for Biological Parents
- Strategies to use when feeling torn between your spouse and child; balancing what your partner wants with what your children need
- How to create a lasting relationship
- How to overcome guilt
Positive Step Parenting
- Tips for those who haven’t parented before
- Understanding the difficult stepchild
- A crucial key you need to succeed
- Conquering resentment!
- Learn what the real role of a stepparent is
- How to help your children to settle in a blended environment
- Using time with children wisely
- Your kids, my kids – how to have equal treatment
- Understanding loyalty from a child’s perspective
- Strategies for bonding with stepchildren