All Grown Up: When Life Hands You Adult Stepkids
by Brenda Snyder, LCSW
It is a well-known fact that people are living longer and that the aging and elderly population is a growing one. This affects many aspects of society, including the growing number of stepfamilies that form later in life and are, thus, comprised of older adults with adult stepchildren.
Stepfamily literature and research tends to focus on families with young or school-age children, where everyday parenting tasks are the norm. Even informal conversations about impending marriages dismiss the unique challenges of taking on adult stepchildren, with everyone expressing gratitude that the “problems” wrought by younger stepchildren have been avoided.
Awareness that transitions in relationships with adult stepchildren also can be extremely problematic and threaten the health of new marriages seems less pervasive—except among stepmothers who are living under these circumstances and are seeking help, which is significantly more difficult to find.
Stepfamilies which formed well before the kids grew into adulthood also face new issues when those children reach their adult years, but new remarriages with adult stepchildren in the mix are the focus here. …To read the rest of this article, log in to your account and download the September 2015 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe!