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How to Make Stepfamilies Work

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneyThe image of the traditional American family has evolved from one of a mother, father, and a child or children, to now include the “blended” family. A large portion of families in the United States are part of a blended situation, which means one spouse is either divorced or widowed with children, and has gone on to remarry someone with a similar past. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 1,300 new stepfamilies form each day. This union creates a “his, hers, and ours” situation that was once only seen in TV comedies like “The Brady Bunch.”

Just because this is more common in today’s society does not make the transition any less awkward at first, nor do all tensions easily conclude with a happy ending as seen on TV. Here are a few tips to make your new family work:

Acknowledge the Children's Relationship With Their Other Parent

Although divorce can have a dramatic effect on children, most studies acknowledge children do well post-divorce if both parents continue their parental roles following the separation, regardless of remarriage. Let the child know the new stepparent will not replace their biological parent, but that it is an extension of their current family.

Consider Moving to a New Home

Couples who move into a new home report higher levels of satisfaction than those who move in together at an existing residence. The new home signifies a fresh start, which puts all family members on equal ground, and allows the formation of all-new memories and experiences, rather than some family members feeling like a newcomer.

Discuss Parenting Roles Before the Transition

One of the most sensitive topics in new stepfamily situations is the disciplinary action of each parent. Typically, the hardest ages for this transition are pre-adolescents, around 10 to 14 years of age. Older children need less parenting, while younger children more readily accept new positive influences. During the pre-adolescent period, children discover and create their own identities, and life changes fast and often. Stepparents should begin a relationship more as a friend and a counselor, rather than a disciplinarian, then report behavior back to the biological parent.

Ask a Naperville Family Law Attorney

If you want to divorce or remarry, or have questions about stepchild adoptions, a DuPage County family lawyer can help. At Pesce Law Group, P.C, we understand no two families are alike, and each situation requires unique attention to find the most suitable resolution. Find out how we can help today. Call our office at 630-352-2240 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.stepfamily.org/stepfamily-statistics.html

https://apa.org/helpcenter/stepfamily.aspx

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