Information and tips to help you live healthier and happier
Strengthening Your Stepfamily
Half of all Americans are now a member of a stepfamily, including over 20 million stepparents. Tragically, 60 to 70 percent of all stepfamilies end in divorce within ten years. Long-term re-marital and stepfamily success is possible, however. Educating yourself about stepfamilies and developing your relationship and conflict resolution skills are the key. The following guidelines will help you strengthen your stepfamily:
Guidelines for stepfamilies:
1. Put your relationship first. Developing and enjoying yourselves as a couple is of prime importance, not only for you, but also for your children. In a stepfamily, as in any two-parent family, the strength of the couple's relationship is crucial for the continuing existence of the stepfamily, and therefore, is vitally important for the children as well.
2. Be realistic with your expectations. Expect conflict and difficulties within your stepfamily. Blending the lives and emotions of several people into a new family is immensely difficult and complex. Parents, stepparents and their children are typically struggling with disappointment, guilt, divided loyalties, jealousy, rejection, fear, anger and their resulting negative behaviors. Acknowledging that conflict within your stepfamily exists is the first step in finding ways to solve problems and begin healing complex emotions.
3. Define parenting roles clearly. Step parenting is usually more successful if stepparents carve out a role for themselves that is different from, and does not compete with, the biological parents. Until children and adults have developed a rapport, most couples find it best for each biological parent to handle primary discipline issues with his or her own children.
4. Learn to problem solve effectively. Yes, conflicts are inevitable. The key is whether these conflicts get resolved positively and amicably or whether stepfamily members argue destructively, hold on to resentments, become emotionally distant and/or leave. People who create successful stepfamilies are skilled at managing conflict. Check your communication skills. Are you listening to the things your spouse considers important, or are you tuning them out? What about the feelings or important issues of your children? stepchildren? ex-spouse? your spouse's ex?
Your EAP is here to help
Sometimes our problems are too hard to solve on our own. If there is chronic fighting or hostility in your stepfamily, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help you. Talking to an EAP professional who is trained to help stepfamilies work out their family relationships can be extremely valuable. If you need help, why not call an EAP professional today? We're here to help you. All EAP services are strictly CONFIDENTIAL.
Employee Assistance Program Services
The Broward County Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all Broward County Government employees and their families to assist with most personal problems affecting the quality of life at home or on the job at no charge. Participation in the program is voluntary and completely confidential. Licensed professionals can assist you with:
- Family problems
- Work conflicts
- Grief and loss
- Financial problems
- Substance abuse
Call for a free and confidential appointment or more information at 954-357-5600 or email at email@example.com. Additional information on our services is also available at Broward.org/HumanResources/EAP.
Copyright © 2016 Healthy Exchange. This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters, which should be obtained directly from your physician.