Navigating Your Stepfamily’s Journey: Understanding the Stages of Stepfamily Development by Christina Roach, LMHC, NCC, DCC
Picture it: You meet the guy of your dreams. The only hiccup—if you would call it that—is that he comes with a kid in tow. You tell yourself it’s no big deal.
Anyways, how hard could it be? Fast forward a few months and you quickly discover that living in step is not what you had anticipated. Heck, it may be nowhere near what you had envisioned!
From ping-ponging between emotions to being in situations that could’ve been ripped straight out of a daytime TV drama, you’re left feeling lost and confused. I invite you to join me as we navigate the pathway down which most stepfamilies travel. With compass and roadmap in hand, you’ll discover where your stepfamily falls on its own path. And, while your stepfamily is unique, you’ll find it has lots in common with others who are taking the same journey through life.
To begin with, we need to determine what type of stepfamily you’re in.
James H. Bray, PhD, is an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. John Kelly served as co-author of Bray’s “Stepfamilies: Love, Marriage and Parenting in the First Decade,” in which the two utilized research into stepfamily dynamics to identify and explain the three main types of modern stepfamilies.