Today, more than four-in-ten American adults have at least one step relative in their family – either a stepparent, a step or half sibling or a stepchild, according to a nationwide Pew Research Center survey.
Each stepfamily is different and the issues they face are wide-ranging. Stepfamily living involves many situations and conflicts that are built into the family structure. Many of us hate conflict and hope to avoid it at all costs, or have come from previous relationships that had too much conflict. Most new stepfamily members have no idea what to expect when beginning their journey as a stepfamily. A lack of understanding of this process and difficulty adjusting to it are key elements that cause stepfamilies to fail and couples to re-divorce. Counseling helps the adults focus on stepfamily issues, break those issues into manageable chunks, and look at them from new perspectives.
Many children and adolescents bring unresolved losses into their stepfamilies and may become depressed or act out, which can lead to school adjustment difficulties. Counseling for adolescents who need understanding, support, and outside guidance is crucial to their well-being and will enhance the quality of stepfamily life for all members of the family. I help the new family develop a map of the unfamiliar terrain, and show each member methods to traverse the process of stepfamily development.
I look forward to meeting you and your stepfamily and helping you overcome the issues you face. To learn more about stepfamily counseling, contact me today to discuss your concerns.