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Stepping Stones Counseling Center Past Articles

"TWO-CULTURES-IN-ONE HOME"

Everyone living together in-step faces the two-cultures-in-one-home dilemma. Each adult brings along their physical possessions and their view of the way things should be into a new household. Each child has a view of the world that they wish to see fostered in their new home too. This makes for interesting and sometimes difficult adjustments in a new stepfamily home.

Many times one family moves into the home of the other family. We immediately have insider (the original resident family) and outsider (the family moving in) roles. These roles are potentially conflicting for both sides. The insiders have had their way of doing things for a long time and resent the new Outsiders with their strange stuff and new styles of living. The outsiders are living in foreign territory, not knowing what is seen as appropriate behavior in their new home.

Frequent challenges to the right way of doing things are encountered. Minor and major clashes arc fought between cultures. Everything from the right way to put dishes away to the right time for children of a certain age to go to bed is discussed and groused over. Blending cultures, like blending people, takes a long time, a lot of patience, and is helped by a good sense of humor.

One new stepfamily had a dog from the insider group and two cats from the outsider group. The animals fought like .... The children learned to make a big fuss over the pets from the other family since they loved all of the animals. This helped their bio-pets to overcome some of their adjustment reactions to new surroundings and new people. it also helped the humans in the stepfamily to work together for the common goal of pet-security, a shared sense of their new "us".


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