When remarriage occurs, parents naturally havequestions from and about stepparents and stepparenting.. Just by loving and beingloved we can help our stepchildren. But is that enough when blended families areconcerned.
Stepparents’ Q & A
Questions asked by many stepparents and some quick answers.
ACCORDING TO ONE STATISTIC, THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF DIVORCE IN REMARRIAGES IS CHILD-REARING. ARE ALL MARRIAGES WITH BLENDED FAMILIES DOOMED FOR DIVORCE?
No. I have read statistics that say 80% of all second marriages end in divorce. One book I read said 50% of those are caused by disagreements over the children. Commitment and persistence are often the deciding factors. If the couple is committed and persistent, they can work it out.
Realism also helps. We all have a romantic view of marriage. A second marriage does not have the privacy or time available for romance the first marriages had. When dinner is shared with the kids, the dishes are washed, the lawn is mowed, and the children have gone to bed or to visit their other parent, then there is time for romance. Also, remember: it takes at least three years to grow trust and make a best friend. It will take that long or longer for a blended family to jell.
The relationship between the two adults is the most important variable influencing the outcome. Therefore, the adults in the relationship should put that relationship first. If that relationship is not strong, then the blended family has a slim chance of success.
THE ISSUE OF LOYALTY IS A COMMON THREAD AMONG BLENDED AND STEP FAMILIES. WHAT TYPE OF SITUATIONS CAN PUT STRESS ON THE LOYAL BONDS BETWEEN FAMILY MEMBERS?
Parents should discuss in advance (before marriage if possible) how disagreements are handled. For example, at the dinner table, stepdad asks Johnny to clean the kitchen after dinner. Johnny says no, he has homework. If they had decided in advance to let the biological parent decide, stepdad could say, "OK, ask your mom." Whatever Mom said he would support. This keeps loyalties from being divided. It works both ways, of course. Again, a parent can’t be left alone with a child, especially a small one with no authority to discipline. It is too dangerous.
Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.