Step-parenting - Often Times a Struggle
Key Points
  • There is no need to let co-parent issues pose challenges in a future relationship. Talk about issues in a clam and rational manner. There really is no such thing as a prefect relationship.
  • Co-parenting may include the issue of step-parenting as well. The issue of co-parenting in a blended family might be a challenge.
  • A second or subsequent marriage may fail if past hurts follow you into a new relationship, especially if there are children involved.

The Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver conception of family life that many Americans cherish as the model of domestic life now gives way to the Brady Bunch -- the stepfamily, or the blended family, as it is called. This transformation has been underway for the past forty years. Today, nearly one-third of weddings in the United States create a stepfamily, and some social scientists believe that someday stepfamilies will be the dominant form of family in America. Some experts predict that one-half of Americans will have a step-relationship at some point in their lifetime.

Stepfamilies, single-parent families, cohabiting couples with or without children, childless marriages -- all now embellish the mosaic of family life in America today. The 1990 census revealed that only 21 percent of households in America "consisted of a married couple residing with their own children, the "traditional’ family."

The stepfamily, which is loosely defined as a marriage where one spouse brings at least one child from a previous relationship, comes freighted with baggage, often intensified by the child’s allegiance to the missing biological parent and the circumstances of the stepfamily’s creation (through divorce or death of a parent). Spouses who rebound into a second marriage with stepchildren often find disappointment that things don’t go smoothly, and home life sinks into a moor of anger, sadness, frustrations, jealousy, hurt feelings, anxiety over a parent sharing love with others, and guilt in preferring a stepparent to a biological parent.

Sadly, however, many couples who bring children from a previous marriage to a second marriage (or third) find that their past booby-traps their new relationship from the start. About 60 per cent of all second remarriages also fail, and these are the ones with stepfamilies: more than 70 percent of remarriages involving children end in dissolution within five and one half years, according to the "Bonded Family".

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