Stepfamily problems

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
When different families come together under one roof, there are likely to be a number of issues to work through. Children typically approach a parent's remarriage with apprehension rather than enthusiasm. In some cases, it shatters the children's fantasies that their divorced parents will get back together. In others, the children may feel that their stepparents or new family members threaten the special bond that had formed between them and their biological parents. Also, after having dealt with the divorce of their biological parents, a new marriage can mean that the child is again confronted with upheaval and adjustment. Matters can be further complicated when new family members expect instant love and respect, or when there's a change in parenting behaviors. Actions that were previously tolerated may no longer acceptable, and this can leave the child confused and angry. If children from different families are brought together, there may be issues of favoritism, jealousy, and mistrust to contend with. In order to succeed, the stepfamily must temporarily loosen boundaries, and allow everyone time to make the adjustment. Mutual respect, communication, and understanding are key components in eliminating conflicts within stepfamilies. Family therapy or counseling may also be necessary to help smooth the transition. For more information, consult a health care professional in your area.

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