The following information is provided by the by Lynne Kenney Markan, Psy.D
One in every three families in the
US is a step-family. Being a bonus parent is a very special role.
You are a caretaker, friend, parent, spouse, confidant, and supporter.
- Develop clear values, rules and expectations in your blended
family. Modify them over time.
- Become a good planner, look toward the future and practice pro-active
planning and intervention.
- Anticipate problems before they arise.
- Focus on establishing and maintaining a solid marital base.
- Protect your marriage.
- Don’t make your new spouse the messenger between you and
- Discuss and deal with all divorce-related issues privately.
- Plan on being a team player, forever.
- When you blame, you shame, don’t do either.
- Don’t buy distortions, there are always more ways than
one to look at a situation.
- Talk, talk talk, and more talk with your spouse, partner, children
- Address the dream of reconciliation thoughtfully.
- Consider the developmental needs of each individual child.
- Be patient.
- Ask for input – from everyone.
- Hold family meetings.
- Have a family suggestion box.
- Consider developing a monthly family newsletter with your children.
- Give all of the relationships time.
- Expect bumps in the road.
In a high conflict divorce:
- Know your role. You are a caretaker, a parent, not the parent.
- Know your place. Do not usurp the role of the primary parent.
You are playing a supportive role.
- Be a voice of reason, not a voice of agitation.
- Contribute to the lives of the children.
- Play with the children, enjoy their individual qualities.
- You are fortunate to have them, and they you.
- Know that there are two sides to every story.
- Stay out of the middle.
- Have the children call you something other than mom or dad,
they usually already have a mom or dad. Have them call you by
your real first name, or a name from another language which means
loved one such as "Muno" "Amado" "Nina"
- You have an important role in the newly developing family, you
are valuable to your spouse and the children. Honor your value.