Posted by: wellness training services | August 27, 2012

Taking A Step – Coaching for Step Parent, Step Child or a Blended Family Member

Taking A Step – Coaching for Step Parent, Step Child or a Blended Family Member

I was discussing step parenting coaching with my friend, Owen, and in our discussion, I summarized what I feel are three important factors that drive blended families and their results. Here are some tips and suggestions for dealing with being a step parent, a step child or being part of a blended family setting.  To stay healthy, strong, and operate with maturity, it is my opinion that blended families need to confront and deal with these three factors:

1. Loyalty Factor – who gets the prime loyalty factor, the new spouse, the first spouse, or the children? How this is dealt with makes all the difference in what happens in the blended family.  If the biological parent places more emphasis on the X-spouse or on the children, this can cause tension in the new household.  If the biological parent isn’t clear about how she or he feels about this, a potential values conflict will be present and everyone in the family will be unclear. The lack of clarity will create constant tension as the unresolved values conflict will be brewing in the background. To explore this factor can be challenging as it often deals with feelings of failure or guilt from the first marriage.  Difficult to explore but necessary in order to save everyone further pain in their own processes of dealing with the past while striving to live in the present.

2. Power Factor – based on the decisions of the loyalty factor, the next question that needs to be addressed is “who gets to have decision-making power” — the biological parent, the new parent, or the children?  If decision-making power is given to the children out of confusion or guilt, then watch out, everything will be out of control and you can expect to have a ton of problems that may never get resolved.  If the new spouse has no authority to manage the step children, then she or he is in a no-win situation and some pretty good ground rules and boundaries have to be set in place, otherwise, expect resentment to settle in.  This is another factor that is difficult to explore but necessary to work through.

3. Resentment Factor – with the first two factors unresolved, you can certainly expect resentment to build for most of the family members no matter which role they are in: child, parent, step-parent. Without some rules and tools, all parties will have their own thoughts about the family dysfunction and dynamics – and these thoughts most likely won’t be filled with accolades.

Healing could take place over years as people move away from the close living association, but often this doesn’t happen as it requires all parties to stay engaged in the healing process.  If healing doesn’t happen for the blended family members, the best anyone can do is to see the blended family from a disassociated point of view once the children are grownups; see your job as a step parent as over, the contract term as completed and try as hard as you can to move on with your own life and come to terms with the past. Maintain a distance and remove yourself emotionally from any remaining drama.

If harmony is one of your core values, a life coaching process could help you understand that some things just won’t end the way you want them to and you may have to learn to live with a little ambiguity. For coaching purposes, the coach and the client could look at these three factors. If beyond the children-raising stage, the coaching process could focus on the client’s own healing and assist them in coming to terms with the end result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have been a step parent or a step child or have been in a blended family setting of some kind, what are some of the things that have caused you resentment when you were in the blended family environment?  What did you find positive about the blended family experience?  Feel free to pose your experiences so that we can learn from each other.  Thanks, Danielle

Stay awake, aware, and alert and strive to lead a well-tempered life – a life that possesses both hardiness and flexibility.  The good news is that once you are awake, it’s hard to go to sleep again, but if you do, do it on purpose and prepare yourself for the consequences.

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BOOK: www.welltemperedlife.com

If you wish some blended family, step-parenting, or step-children coaching, please feel free to email me at anytime at dgault@wellness-training-services.com
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