Making healthy stepfamilies

As with anything in life that involves soulful effort and an amount of personal sacrifice, the rewards are reaped by those who sow. One 17-year-old who had lived in a remarried family since she was 13 summed up her feelings for her stepfather this way, "He's my Dad. Anyone can be a father, but he's been there for me. I have a father, too. But he's my Dad!" Remember, too, that children fare better the more adults they have who are committed to their growth and well-being. There can be room for two Dads or two Moms, if each relationship is respected for what it is and supported in its' uniqueness. There has always been considerable controversy surrounding the less than ideal emergence of the nuclear family since its' recent inception. Perhaps the newly constellated stepfamily network at its' best holds promise for a return to a kind of extended family system. In any case, with support and knowledge for the natural feelings and challenges of this kind of system, perhaps we will be able to recognize the unique opportunity for conscious love, caring and commitment that a stepfamily holds. Learning the value of nurturing is afterall the core of healthy relationships of all kinds.


Footnotes

  1. McGoldrick and Carter Forming a Remarried Family in "The Changing Family Life Cycle", edited by McGoldrick and Carter, 2nd ed. Gardner Press, N.Y. 1988
  2. Glick,Paul, 1991, from the 1987 National Survey of Families and Households presented at Address to Annual Conference, Stepfamily Associates of America, Lincoln, Nebraska, Oct. 1991.
  3. Visher and Visher, chapter 8 in "Normal Family Processes", edited by Froma Walsh, Guilford Press, N.Y. 1993 2nd edition
  4. Visher and Visher, chapter 8 in "Normal Family Processes" edited by Froma Walsh, Guilford Press, N.Y. 1993 2nd edition
  5. McGoldrick and Carter Forming a Remarried Family in "The Changing Family Life Cycle", edited by McGoldrick and Carter, 2nd ed. Gardner Press, N.Y. 1988

 

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