Supported ideas and responses using appropriate examples, in-text citations (i.e. Segrin & Flora, 2011) AND references (i.e. Segrin & Flora. (2011). Family communication (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.) Appropriate sources include textbooks and peer reviewed research articles. Websites such as Wikipedia, about.com, and others such as these are NOT acceptable. Post meets the 400 word minimum requirement and is free from spelling/grammar errors.
Describe at least three challenges facing stepfamilies today. Which challenge do you feel is most difficult to overcome? What resources might this family need to go from conflictual to bonded?
Clear communication is a top challenge faced by stepfamilies. Communication can be a challenger for non-step families, but becomes an even bigger challenge with combined families. “Although all developing families face a number of communication challenges as they build relationships, trust, roles, and boundaries, stepfamilies have unique dynamics that make these challenges particularly salient” (Segrin & Flora, 2011). Parents and step parents need to be on the same page with routines, rules, consequences, off limit activities, off limit friends and much more. The ability of two parents keeping on the same page with these and communicating their wants and needs to their children is a task, add a third or fourth parent just multiplies the challenge and the even greater need for communication to take place on these topics and many others.
Loyalty in stepfamilies is another challenge in blended families. “Loyalty struggles abound in stepfamilies because of the unbalanced triangles their members encounter” (Doherty, 1999). Children may treat the step-parent with disregard in order to feel as if they are remaining true to their biological parent. A parent can even favor their biological child over that of a step-child as a way of showing loyalty. Learning loyalty can be shared among biological and step family members is key to a healthy long lasting blended family.
Conflict is a serious challenge faced by step families. Some small conflict could easily turn into a giant issue if not resolved. Sometimes the stepfamily can be viewed as outsiders according Segrin & Flora and this can lead to communication issues and stress.
I chose these three conflicts as I have seen them first hand with my niece and nephew who have seven children combined. My niece had two from her first marriage, he had three from his first and second marriage and then they had two children. Communication between all the kids and either adult is hard due to the amount of talkers, versus listeners. Communicating daily tasks, who is where and staying on top of the communication for them is tough. I have also seen at different points in their marriage where one or the other has disciplined the step child differently than the biologically related child. My niece has been viewed at times as the outsider and if she would just go away then the step children would get their mom back. After almost 12 years together they have found a workable blended family, but it was not easy.
Therapy both as a family and individual. Individually so that each person feels unique and as a family so that they can learn proper communication techniques. Talk, it does not have to be about anything in particular at first, just get to know each other as a person before jumping into roles as step parent and step child. Communication can solve many conflicts, reassure loyalty and lead to a less stressed blended family.
Challenges that are facing stepfamilies today are communication, conflict, and child adjustment.
I think the most difficult challenge would be most difficult to overcome would be conflict and child adjustment. Resources I came across that might help to improve adult relationships, support groups, tips, etc.;
Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com)
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