Stepfamilies have become more common and touch up to half of us (Sayre, McCollum, & Spring, 2010). These families are formed following a loss, meaning that unresolved grief could impact the formation of the stepfamily. They are also at risk for loyalty conflicts where children, partners, and ex-partners can become entwined in negative interactional patterns. Stepparents may have difficulty navigating their role as a parent while children are adapting to new parental figures. The increased stress leaves the couple at risk for divorce and another round of grief and loss (Clarke-Stewart & Brentano, 2006).
What families can do to help the transition
Browning, S., & Artelt, E. (2012). Stepfamily diversity. In Stepfamily therapy: A 10-step clinical approach (pp. 225-259). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
Clarke-Stewart, A., & Brentano, C. (2006). Divorce: Causes and consequences. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
Pruett, M. K., & Donsky, T. (2011). Coparenting after divorce: Paving pathways for parental cooperation, conflict resolution, and redefined family roles. In J. P. McHale, K. M.
Lindahl, J. P. McHale, K. M. Lindahl (Eds.), Coparenting: A conceptual and clinical examination of family systems (pp. 231-250). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/12328-011
Sayre, J. B., McCollum, E. E., & Spring, E. L. (2010). An outsider in my own home: attachment injury in stepcouple relationships. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 36(4), 403-415.
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