Creating a second marriage with a new spouse can be an occasion for celebration and starting over. But becoming a step-parent and successfully bringing together children from previous unions can be challenging. While you are anticipating a happy new life with stepchildren, the kids may be dealing with divided loyalties and unsettling, unfamiliar routines. Everyday decisions like going to school, living arrangements, or visiting relatives becomes complicated.
All of this can cause stress and strain on the new marriage. Divided loyalties and potential triangles can proliferate, and someone is usually in the middle. In a supporting, warm environment, our family therapists will see the couple, the children, or the whole family as needed to help you make your new union a successful one and to provide the foundation for a strong, loving blended family.
Licensed and certified therapists have years of experience and training with blended families and step-parents, enabling them to provide you with a private, personal service that offers you an experience of respect, expertise, and support while you work through any issues you have as a step-parent or with your place in a blended family.
For advice, tips, and insight into forming stronger, happier and more rewarding relationships, explore The PARC Blog. We post regular articles about topics related to Step-Parent Counseling, and much more. See our Tips for Blending Families blog post for more information.
Common Topics in Step-Parent & Blended Family Counseling
When there are two sets of parents, who has the ultimate authority over disciplinary issues? If a step-parent tells a stepchild how to behave, a war can break out. Kids, as well as adults, can often become confused and troubled in this situation. Family therapy can help you determine the proper course for guiding your children and sharing responsibility with your new spouse and former spouse.
Suddenly, a child has a brand new brother or sister. How does the child deal with sharing their home and a parent with someone they barely know? Family therapy can help guide children on both sides of the new family in adjusting and adapting to their new family configurations.
Money issues can cause trouble for any family. But when there are previous spouses and separate households involved, the potential for financial conflict escalates. Who pays for what? Which family is responsible for which child’s expenses? An experienced therapist can help you sort out your money priorities and address the issues underlying the cash flow.
Even though you may be divorced, your child’s biological grandparents will probably still want to be a part of his or her life. The grandparents may be resentful of the new step-parent and rivalry may ensue. We can help you maintain the vital bond between grandparents and grandchildren while instilling respect for all.
Divorce is never easy and can sometimes be very painful, not only for the separating couple, but for the children. If you are embarking on a new relationship, dealing with an ex-partner can also cause numerous rifts. Therapy and counseling can provide the setting to address issues regarding your former partner while strengthening your new union at the same time. There is also the option of including an ex-spouse in the family treatment plan if you wish.
If you’re in a new marriage, having a child of your own can be a wonderful addition. But it can also cause issues of rivalry with children and stepchildren. Our experienced therapists will help you consider all sides of this important decision and help you to navigate the problems that may arise.
This may be a fairy-tale fantasy, but young children sometimes have real resentment when a stepmother enters their life. In sessions with or without the parents, children can explore their feelings on the big changes going on in their lives and embark on a path towards acceptance.
Family meetings are very important for all blended families, but for step-parents and kids, holding these vital talks can be especially challenge. You can start the process for this essential means of communication with a family meeting that is moderated by one of our expert family therapists, who will then guide you toward carrying the meetings out on your own.
Families can be a source of love and strength, but in-laws can sometimes cause rifts between couples. Family therapy can help you calmly process your feelings about each other’s families and eliminate conflicts about them.
How do you amicably share custody of your child with an ex-spouse? How do you balance your feelings for your former mate so they don’t intrude on your new family? How does your divorce affect the new blended family? Therapy can help you navigate this difficult journey and find the right path for you and your children.