Newsletter for March 30, 2022

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Grow into Your Role

Stepparenting changes as relationships grow.

“Early in remarriage, the most successful stepparent-stepchild relationships are those where the stepparent focuses first on the development of a warm, friendly interaction style with the stepchild. Once a foundation of mutual respect and affection is established, stepparents who then attempt to assume a disciplinarian role are less likely to meet with resentment from the stepchild (source).

The research evidence suggests that the best stepparent initially works through and with the children’s parent.

  • Initially, maintaining an emotionally non-threatening, distant relationship is best.
  • After a couple years stepparents can begin to spend more time in direct childcare and rule setting. Agreement between the spouses as to the timing of this role shift is important.
  • Marital consensus and mutual support always provide the strength a stepparent needs to become more authoritative.

Move Gradually into Discipline

The ability to lead and influence children comes the old-fashioned way — you earn it. Trust, respect and honor grow out of a relational history, and there is no quick way to establish that. Stepparents must be dedicated to building a relationship over time.

Effective stepparents gradually move into disciplinary roles. Power comes with relationship and grows over time. Let’s look at three positive relationship styles that give way to parental authority.

1. The baby-sitter role. Baby-sitters have power to manage children only if parents give them power. 

2. The “uncle/aunt” role. After a moderate relationship has developed, stepparents can move into the “uncle or aunt” stepparenting role. 

3. The “parent” or stepparent role. Eventually, some stepparents will gain “parental” status with some stepchildren. Younger children tend to grant stepparents parental status much more quickly than adolescents. 

Make Your Marriage a Priority

Stress in a stepfamily generally divides people along biological lines. When push comes to shove, the allegiance (or loyalty) between parents and children often wins out over the marriage unless the couple can form a unified position of leadership. If they cannot govern the family as a team, the household is headed for anger, jealousy, and unacceptance.

Unity within the couple’s relationship bridges the emotional gap between the stepparent and stepchildren and positions both adults to lead the family. If a biological parent is not willing to build such a bridge with the stepparent, the stepchildren will receive an unhealthy amount of power in the home.

  • The biological parent in stepfamilies maintains a relationship to both insiders (their children) and outsiders (new spouse and his or her children), and therefore must position the stepparent as his or her teammate.
  • The couple should give time and energy to the marriage and not let their children keep them apart. Including the new spouse in parenting decisions, setting a date night and keeping it, and taking a few minutes each day to connect without interruption as a couple are a few simple but significant ways to communicate the unity of the couple to the children.
  • If the biological parent doesn’t help the stepparent into a leadership position, the stepparent is likely to try to force his or her way in. This almost always results in resentment and resistance from the insiders. Again, jealousy, rejection, and anger are common resulting emotions.

To read more..

In service to you and your family,

Managing Director, Hope4Families


April 30, 2022 :

NY Shared Parenting Expo

Hope4Families encourages you to send us your events to be featured at our website!

To learn more about Hope4Families, check our Website: @https://hope4families.net/welcome


Richard M. Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC

Richard M. Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC, is a mental health and addictions counselor in New York City, a consultant and presenter to the federal and state courts and other government and non-government groups, the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On, a patient education and advocacy guide. Mr. Zwolinski is a regular contributor to PsychCentral.com.

To learn more about Hope4Families, check our Website: @https://hope4families.net/welcome


Press Release Statement of the Global Action for Research Integrity in Parental Alienation

Global Action Research Integrity in Parental Alienation (GARI-PA) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), nonprofit, established by professionals, researchers, students and civil society from all over the world, interested in the research integrity in parental alienation and child abuse in strict adherence to Human Rights System.

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