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Stepping Stones Counseling Center Past Articles

COUNSELING STEPFAMILIES: Stepfamily Integration

What is the most difficult problem for adults entering into a remarriage in which children are involved? Emily and John Visher believe it is the unrealistic expectations that the household will integrate and settle down relatively quickly. Kids appear to be more realistic about this than adults. One 16-year-old put it very clearly, "It takes me a long time to make a good friend at school."

Slowing down our expectations of integrating different ways of doing things and ways of behaving in a family setting take time. Children have fewer ideas of how a family ought to "work" and younger children are more malleable than adolescents when it comes to making changes. We must face issues involving the other house-hold and the experiences each of us had in previous living situations.

The Vishers point out that a fundamental issue all stepfamilies must face is that this family will operate differently from those of first-marriage families. Special tasks have to be accomplished because the structure of these family lifestyles cannot be the same. In our counseling sessions and workshops for parents, we attempt to explore these ideas.

The Basic Differences In Stepfamily Structure:
  1. The family begins after many loses and changes.
  2. Both adults and children come together with incongruent individual, marital, and family life cycles.
  3. Children and adults all have expectations from previous families.
  4. Parent-child relationships predate the new couple relationship.
  5. There is a biological parent in another household or in memory.
  6. Children are often members of two households.
  7. There is little or no legal relationship between stepparents and stepchildren.

At Stepping Stones Counseling Center we help families identify, explore, and understand these developmental issues in stepfamily living. Successful integration of structural issues goes a long way to improve the quality of life for all stepfamily members. Feel free to call us for a consultation if your family is experiencing any of these developmental adjustment difficulties.



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For additional information or an appointment:

steppingstones@att.net

312 Warren Avenue (Suite 2)
Hohokus, NJ 07423
201-652-8222 (private)
201-444-3686 (Center)