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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creating a Stable Stepfamily: Get Professional Help When You Need It

If you follow national news, you've probably seen the story of the stepfamily in Oregon that has been missing their seven-year-old son for more than three weeks.

The father of the boy has now filed for divorce from his wife, the stepmom, and it appears she may be a suspect in the case. The father has also removed the 18-month-old child they share together from the home, and filed for sole custody.

Overwhelmed stepparents face challenges every day that require more mental and emotional strength then they possess. Stepparenting is not an easy role. But there is help out there for those who want it.

My husband and I sought counseling within six months of our marriage. Blending four children proved more difficult then we imagined and we quickly realized we needed help. We worked with a wonderful counselor who understood stepfamily dynamics and guided us toward healthy development in our stepfamily roles. The counseling we received at that time probably saved our marriage.

In seeking a counselor, I strongly recommend you inquire about his/her training with stepfamilies. If counselors try to counsel stepfamilies the same way they counsel traditional families, it does not work! It's important to work with someone who understands stepfamily dynamics.

It also helps to ask others in your community about counselors they recommend. Unfortunately, there are too many incapable counselors who can do more harm than good. Finding a good counselor is worth the time and effort it takes.

If you recognize that your family needs help, don't wait to find it. There are precious children at stake who deserve the chance to be raised in a healthy home.

Do you need help coping with your stepfamily challenges?

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