Is It Soup Yet?
by K.C. Blake
Sometimes, in our fast paced society, we forget that relationships do not just happen, rather they grow. People become dearer to us with the passing of time, and the making of memories. In stepfamilies, particularly, there exists the misconception that immediate harmony is possible. Joining into a stepfamily plunges us into intimate minglings with virtual strangers. Naturally, we hope to quickly bond with our mate's offspring, in fact, it may seem crucial to the relationship that we do...but "instant love" is an impossible fantasy. It is that very pressure that leads us to unrealistic goals and certain sorrow.
From the onset, a stepfamily is an outgrowth of losses for the original family; death, divorce, or abandonment. Remarraige represents the end of children's natural dream for parents to reunite. A joyous beginning for the adults can be a sad time of change and adjustment for all youngsters involved. Such a monumental regrouping can leave everyone feeling overwhelmed and ambivalent. Blending family
members with conflicting objectives, invariably makes for a long, rocky road.
There are several factors which seem to affect the time and severity of this adjustment process:
- number of children involved
- both parties remarrying? (2 sets of visitation/diovrce decrees...2 ex's...stepsiblings...etc.)
- ages of children
- how recent was the divorce(s)
- are original bioparents capable of co-parenting amicably?
- personality types/conflicts
- level of resentment (all members)
This might seem like too much for any family to overcome, but triumph is possible. Facing the challenges with eyes open and letting go of unreasonable expectations can help all parents to better cope. Time commitment, counseling, and support will all fortify you in your quest. True change and success do not come easily or quickly. Give yourself and those in your new family the time and space to find their own way. It takes time to make peace with "what is" and relinquish "what is not."
Family success is a lifelong work in progress. Give it time to simmer, and in spite of the difficulties along the way, learn to savor that time. Remember, you are building a new life, a new legacy; one that you will
eventually feel proud of.
Copyright © 1998 K.C. Blake. All rights reserved.
Second Wives / Second Families