Getting in Step
Dr. Engel says, "Adults all want the same thing: they all want supportive relationships, and they want to rear happy, healthy children. Stepfamilies aren't as big a risk as the media make them out to be. People are trying harder now to work together, much more and much earlier. Typically, it takes a number of years, but they do it."
It takes a great deal of time, adaptability, understanding, patience, and open-mindedness to have a happy stepfamily. Along the way, accept that there are going to be problems and awkwardness. Make a commitment to nurturing your marriage, and to raising happy, well-adjusted kids, and don't be afraid to ask for help -- from your spouse, family, friends, or a professional counselor if necessary. Your goals (a happy marriage and happy kids) are too important to forfeit by suffering in silence.
For more information and advice on being part of a stepfamily, visit the Stepfamily Foundation at www.stepfamily.org; the Foundation offers worldwide telephone counseling. The Stepfamily Association of America's site
Divorce Magazine provides advice and support for those coping with separation, divorce, and remarriage. For more tips and stories, visit www.DivorceMagazine.com.