Maintaining a Network as a Stepparent
As you deal with the frustrations that come with life in a blended family, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Vital Statistics reports that 60 percent of marriages end in legal divorce, and 75 percent of divorced people remarry. A lot of Americans are living in some sort of blended family, and there are plenty of places for them to reach out to for support.
As a stepparent, your first instinct might be to talk with your spouse about problems, but in some situations that can make things worse. If you feel the need to complain about how your stepchildren are getting on your nerves, turning to their biological parent might get you nowhere. Or if you’ve had it with the uncooperative nature of your spouse’s ex, bringing up the issues and throwing out your solutions might raise some hackles.
It’s best to keep your friendships and other support networks alive and well for these exact situations. Not only can they help you get through the tough times, but you might actually get some good advice. Here are a few places to turn:
Parents and friends. Pick up the phone and call your mom, dad or a friend who is familiar with your situation. They can lend a listening ear and be sympathetic to you – or brutally honest, depending on the situation.
Counselors. Find a good family counselor that you can go to, whether it’s by yourself, with your spouse or as a family. Many health insurance policies will cover a few visits.
Local support groups. These groups are a good way to network with other people in similar situations to yours. Divorce Care is one option that has some groups meeting at churches in the Charlotte area.
Online forums. The anonymity of going online can be a great way to express your feelings and get feedback. Try SecondWivesCafe.com or CharlotteMommies.com, which has a Bonus Mommies forum in their group of private forums.
Karen M. Alley is a freelance writer and is proud to be part of a blended family.