Stepchildren and the Role They Can Play in Ruining Marriages In certain remarriages, stepchildren can be a cause of persistent strife. When their parents divorce, children frequently feel powerless. Sometimes they believe that causing controversy is the only way they can get things done. This can lead to quarrels between siblings that continue long after the initial cause has been resolved.
The stepchild's role in ruining marriages can be two-fold. First, if the stepsiblings are young, they may try to act like twins instead of stepsiblings. This can cause problems when Mom or Dad wants to have some privacy and needs time alone. Young stepsiblings often don't understand this need and will sometimes tag along when their parents go out, or even stay over at a friend's house.
The other problem stepchildren can cause is feelings of betrayal. If the stepsiblings were loved by both parents, then when one parent remarries, the new spouse will most likely want his or her own family created. This can cause tears between the old family members and the new ones. It can also cause resentment because kids don't feel like they belong with the new family anymore. This can be especially true if they aren't wanted by the new father or mother.
In some cases, stepchildren can cause harm even if they're older.
The marriage is doomed unless these two essential components of a relationship are present. Worse, children are frequently the victims of this dynamic. One in every three youngsters now lives in a home with a stepparent. That's nearly equal to the number who live with both their natural parents.
Because they're not their parent's child, a stepchild often feels like an outsider looking in on his or her own family. This can lead to jealousy and anger that can last for years after the stepfather or stepmother has left the family home. The stepchild may even try to kill him or herself to escape from his or her pain.
Without a stable role model around, a child may look to his or her natural parents for guidance but find only conflict. They may feel forced to act like adults when they aren't yet ready for such responsibilities.
If you are a stepparent or know someone who is, learn how to manage your expectations. Don't try to replace your own parental rights with those of a stepparent. Instead, provide a safe environment where your stepchild can grow up understanding love, commitment, and responsibility. In return, he or she will feel welcome and valued no matter what type of family you have created for yourself.
A new study looks at how a stepparent's divorce might affect a stepchild's mental health. Remarriages are a somewhat typical event given the incidence of divorce. Stepparents may have committed a lot of time and energy in raising a kid, only to have the relationship terminate abruptly. This can be extremely stressful for any child involved.
There are two main types of relationships between a parent who has a new partner and their existing children: blended families and adoptive families. In a traditional or "blended" family, the new partner is married to someone else. Generally, the other parent stays in the picture for the sake of the children and sometimes even lives with the new couple.
In an "adoptive" family, one parent chooses to leave their existing family to start a new one with the new spouse. They usually find a family to adopt out their children as well. While this type of situation is becoming more common as parents look for ways to have more than one child, it's still considered unusual for a single parent to adopt out of their own biological family.
Regardless of the structure of the new family, any child will experience some level of stress when their parent starts a new marriage or partnership. However, for stepparents this can be especially difficult because they are often expected to fill the role of both parent - something that is not always possible or desirable.
Adult stepchildren may be bitter about their parents' divorce, unfriendly to the notion of having a stepparent, and resentful of the stepparent himself or herself. As the children get older, concerns such as estate planning and inheritance might arise, adding an added layer of tension and anger. 4. Stepmothers have it the hardest. A study conducted by Dr. Roy Rosenzweig found that stepmothers experience higher rates of stress-related illnesses such as heart disease and depression than other types of wives. 5. The divorce rate for stepfamilies is high. If you're in a family where there's been some sort of separation involving one or both parents, then you're in a stepfamily situation. According to research done by the U.S. Census Bureau, 20% of all marriages will become divorced before the 10th year is up. That means that if your marriage ends before it has a chance to grow old, you're in this percentage of couples.
Stepfamilies are often more unstable than married families. If your husband and father goes through a divorce, then you can expect the women in your life (wife, mother, sister) to show you cold shoulders and angry words. Your siblings might even feel like they have to take sides against you. The fact is that you're just doing what any other daughter-in-law would do if this happened to her own family.
The divorce rate for stepfamilies is high.
Coping issues with parental pressure to have a close relationship with a stepparent While it is the responsibility of the stepparent and the kid to help the younger child adjust to stepfamily life, an adult child is capable of, and should be expected to, contribute considerably to the resolution of relationships. If you are unable or unwilling to work through your issues with your stepfather, consider talking with a counselor who has experience helping adults cope with history of childhood abuse.
The theory of attachment. According to evolutionary psychologists, one of the causes of stepchild maltreatment may be a lack of a maternal attachment tie that the mother would typically build with her own child. Since stepparents are not their children's natural parents, they cannot rely on genetics to bond them together. Thus, they must learn to trust each other in order for the relationship to be healthy.
In addition, because they are not natural siblings, stepchildren do not have any inherent connection with their stepparents. This means that they can't rely on being loved and protected by them either. The stepsiblings must earn their parents' love through good behavior. If they misbehave, then the parent(s) have every right to punish or neglect them.
Stepfamily relationships are often characterized by conflict between the needs and desires of the different members. Because stepparents want what's best for their children, they will try to give them the things they need from them. However, if a child fails to meet these needs, then the stepparent will use whatever means are at their disposal to get them done.
If you're a stepchild who has been neglected or abused by your parents, then you should consider seeking help from a reputable stepfamily support group.