Blending families while dating

Sometimes it is only one spouse who brings children into the marriage.

Regardless of the particular configuration of children and stepparents, everyone involved has to deal with difficult challenges. Net, we hear about those challenges when the wife or husband writes to us complaining that their new spouse seems to love their biological children more than their new spouse. Mail recently posted on "Reader Questions," "I have been divorced from my daughter's father for almost 11 years.

While this may feel awkward and "unfamily like," Dr.

Papernow reminds us that although this is un first-time family like, it is normal in a stepfamily.

She wants to know what we are talking about when he and I are having a conversation.

He is also divorced and has 3 daughters who live with their mother in another state. She is very jealous of every aspect of my relationship.

It is astounding to realize that before the end of the decade, more people will be part of a stepfamily than any other family form. Papernow expands upon four guidelines for successful stepfamily development: Do not attempt too much change too fast.

As unbelievable as that statistic sounds, the part that is truly unbelievable is that forming a new family with children from a previous marriage requires training and education. Establishing too many new rules and expectations creates too much instability for children.

Stepparents, as outsiders and newcomers, have different needs of children than their parents do.

Stepparents also often have very useful input about childrens needs and issues.

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