Dr. Bill Nodrick Ph.D. and
Bev Nodrick RSW
Stepfamilies can be healthy,
loving and exceptionally stable living environments.
Early stepfamily life is stressful
for everyone. This is particularly
true for women in the stepmother role if they have never had children of their
(If you are a stepmom without kids of your own, click here
to learn more.)
(If you are a stepmom without kids of your own, click here to learn more.)
Most of the difficulties that
stepfamilies face are a product of the stepfamily situation, not the people
· Unlike the biological family, stepfamilies are built upon loss. [Disagree with this? If you do, Dr. Bray might see you as a member of a "Romantic" stepfamily. Click here to learn more about Dr. Bray's research on stepfamily types.]
· Stepfamilies are much more complex than biological families, and have very different dynamics than biological families.
Stepfamilies follow a predictable
developmental course that differs importantly from the developmental course
followed by biological families.
Like it or not, your stepfamily
includes all of the people that you, your spouse, your children, and your
spouse’s children regard as being part of their family.
Stepfamilies must accomplish four
critical developmental tasks*:
1) building a strong couple bond,
2) incorporating the stepparent into the lives and management of the stepchildren,
3) effectively managing relationships with the former spouse(s), nonresidential parent(s), and extended family members, and
4) acquiring the skills necessary to address problems and manage change.
can be yours*:
a) if you and your partner commit to working as a team,
b) the two of you learn about stepfamily dynamics, and
c) as a couple, you put what you learn into action.
* These tasks are addressed in detail in Building Stepfamilies That Work--a course provided by the Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta.