by Dr. Jeannette Lofas
"Step" relationships occur after the divorce of a couple or the death of a spouse and when there are children from the prior relationship. Heterosexual couple or homosexual couple, married or living together, when children from a prior relationship are involved you've got a step relationship on your hands. And that means you have to work harder to make your relationship with your new partner a success.
The American family as we knew it is no longer . The current American family has become a high-risk stepfamily system; 1300 new stepfamilies are forming every day.These relationships fail at the rate of two out of three, dramatically affecting all involved . . . especially the children.
It is important to be in agreement when dealing with the children. The couple must sit down together and decide how they are going to run their household. The couple must draw up guidelines, operating procedures, rules of conduct, and job descriptions for everyone in the household. Often we need to seek the help of a trained stepfamily counselor to work out impasses. Impasses between the couple can erode couple strength, which is the very foundation of the stepfamily.