“I don’t understand why this is so hard and why I feel left out all the time.”
“I feel like I don’t belong in my own home.”
“I dread the visits with his children.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed in your new stepfamily, or blended family, you are not alone.
A relationship with stepchildren increases stress on the newly remarried couple in ways that couples without children do not experience.
Not only is the new couple trying to figure out how to navigate these relationships, but the children are trying to figure out who this new person is in their lives. As a stepparent, you may find it hard to imagine why your stepson or stepdaughter continues to reject you when you try so hard, or wonder how you will continue to deal with your partner’s ex-spouse.
It’s a perpetual cycle of confusion for all involved – just at a time when everyone wants to feel accepted. And instead of making your stepfamily a cohesive unit, all of these frustrations may build anger and resentment toward your new partner and a sense of shame because you feel so helpless to figure it out!
Today, it is actually more common for people to be in a blended family than to be in a traditional nuclear family dynamic. In a remarried couple with children, the roles of each of the adults and the old rules that applied to a “traditional” family don’t apply. Stepfamilies have dynamics unique to them because the roles of a stepmom, stepdad, and stepchildren never fit into a “traditional” family model. These new rules are often not talked about, and you may feel like you are supposed to act like a regular family. But some things are just not “regular” about a new marriage to a partner who already has children!
The StepFamily Center is here to give you a chance to have a successful remarriage with children. Located in Hermosa Beach, Calif., the center offers in-person stepfamily counseling services to help blended families navigate their new roles. The center also offers phone and Skype coaching, and teleseminars for couples and blended families around the country.
Whether you just became a blended family or have been living as a stepfamily for years, we are here to help you and your family succeed!