Accepting Your Step-Parent

Step-parents need to embrace biological parents' impact

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Bonding step-family with existing biological family can be a difficult process. In order to make this easier, step-parents should heed experts advice: Children assess their step-parents based on how they are treated and how step-parent react to biological parents.

Missouri researchers Larry Ganong and Marilyn Coleman, Curators Professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, observed that children are affected by the opinions and actions of their biological parents and other family members as they develop relationships with step-parents.

In other words, children are forced to ask themselves, “Is my “real” dad or mom going to accept my new relationship with a step-parent? Are they jealous? Will I lose my “real” mom or dad if I am nice to my step-parent?”

dailyRx Insight: Bonding step-family takes time, mutual respect, and acquiescence from both side’s of a child’s family.

The MU researchers evaluated step-children's participation and contributions in building relationships with step-parents. They identified six patterns of relationship building from a child’s perspectives: accepting as a parent, liking from the start, accepting with ambivalence, changing trajectory, rejecting and coexisting.

Step-parents being accepted by step-children hinges on the overall family situation and if the step-parent is viewed as being beneficial either financially or emotionally to the step-family . Step-relationships cannot be determined solely by individual actions, because there are two people in the relationship. They are determined by all the interactions of both parties in the game.

Stay in the game to make your step-family into a real family and remember there isn’t a limit on how much and who people can and will love.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 30, 2011
Last Updated:
March 30, 2011