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Transcript of Reconstituted Families
their home as they knew it has changed beyond recognition
one parent no longer lives in the home
there is now another grown-up to deal with.
So it's scarcely surprising that the child's behaviour alters. The rise in divorce rates, single-parent families, same-sex couples, unmarried partners and adoption are all contributing factors to reconstituted/step families. Tragic phases in life occur to each and everyone; sometimes death takes a parent away and that extra support is needed in the long run, or divorce tragically becomes unavoidable.
The frequency of second marriages involving children is very high. There are inevitable and special stresses in the integration of such a family system. Mistrust, fear of failure, and sense of vulnerability are almost always present. Step-families are very common nowadays. In fact it's been calculated that about one in three of us is involved in a step-family situation.
And yet, probably most of us were not brought up in step-families. But it's not all bad. Gradually people accept individuals – and grow to love them. And wonderful new relationships can be developed.
A stepdaughter may find her stepmother easier to talk to than her own mum. A stepson might use a step-parent to get an important message through to his own dad.
There are plenty of bonuses in being in a step-family. It's just that you have to surmount a lot of obstacles before you notice them! During any split between two co-habitating partners, there is often a lot of trauma and bad feeling. And sometimes the adults concerned are so busy with their own upset and grief, that they don't have much time for their children – or for explaining things to them. Unfortunately, the youngsters in such situations often feel completely bewildered. They have loyalties to both parents, but they are forcibly removed from one of them. They may also hear very strong criticism of each parent by the other, and yet they're expected to 'be a good boy' or to 'be a nice girl and don't make a fuss'. Meanwhile, they often feel they don't know exactly what's going on, but that they hate the changes. They also feel quite strongly that they have not asked for all this upset in their lives.
This is a very important point for adults to remember. No matter how difficult life is for the grown-ups in all of this, they should take on board that it can be absolutely terrifying for the children – and mostly that the kids would give anything for the split not to have happened.
This is not true for every child of course, but it is exceedingly common.