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Indeed, it may come as a surprise to the general public (and a relief to stepfamilies) to learn that conflict is the rule, rather than the exception, in the first years of step-family life. Let’s Break It Down First of all, step-families are not precisely families.
These “family” members are more likely to argue, seethe with jealousy or simply distrust one other than they are to meld into a happy mix right away. But thanks to the “blended” paradigm, they are bound to wonder, “What are we doing wrong? They bring together a cast of characters, often under one roof, who aren’t related and may have been raised in entirely different ways.
The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including the type of loss you have experienced, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health. Knowing that they're common may help them seem more normal. Some people take a lot longer than others to recover.
Third, there’s an ex or deceased spouse in the picture.
It seems this very flexibility - what might seem like “lack of closeness” or “failure to blend” - is critical to step-parents and step-children of any age developing positive relationships in their own way, in their own time.
A step-mother may be more like an aunt than a mum to her teenaged step-daughter.
The step-mother with good intentions often becomes a target for resentment about all the changes in their lives, and is frequently blamed for their mother’s unhappiness, too.
Reaching out to the kids (or their mum) to bridge the gap can backfire, creating feelings of failure and disappointment that in turn stress the couple.Children need to feel they're listened to, so include them in decisions and events if it feels right. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe antidepressant medicine if needed.