Stepfamilies are different

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Stepfamilies are in some ways like first-time-round families.  They are also, in many other ways, vastly different.  Most people who become a part of a stepfamily are unprepared for the differences.  These differences can include:
  • The complexity of stepfamilies - there are many more family relationships in stepfamilies.  There are likely to be grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and a parent living outside the family with no links with other members of the stepfamily.
  • The new couple’s different attitudes to child-rearing.
  • Emotional upheavals. Family members may have experienced distress from the break-up of the previous marriage or relationship. Some may still be grieving for the family they have lost.
  • Huge changes. All members of the stepfamily, including those living outside the family, must cope with the change and make a number of adjustments.
  • More parents. There are more parent figures in a stepfamily and the parenting may be shared by someone outside the family.
  • Different likes and dislikes. There is no common history and different family members may have different ideas about how things are done.

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