Note: links below connect to the non-profit educational Break the Cycle! Web site (Formerly "Stepfamily inFormation"). Close the pages or use your browser´s "back" button to return here.
Typical multi-home stepfamilies are riddled with conflicts between three or more co-parents and their relatives over child discipline, nutrition, visitations, custody, hygiene, religion, schooling, hoidays, loyalties, expenses, names, responsibilities, and other topics. The scope, complexity, and persistence of these disputes among ex mates, stepparents, and relatives can significantly contribute to eventual re/divorce. (The "/" notes it may be a stepparent´s first union).
is part of a
series intended to help co-parents and supporters overcome five common hazards that combine to (1) promote
epidemic U.S. re/divorce, and (2) pass on significant psychological
wounds to vulnerable children. The hazards are:
unawarenesses and ignorance of key information; plus...
unseen psychological wounds from low-nurturance childhoods; plus...
incomplete or blocked grief in kids and/or adults, which inhibits new bonds and adult intimacy; plus...
courtship neediness and romantic illusions; plus...
little informed stepfamily help in the media and local community.
Typical nuclear stepfamilies include three or more co-parents (bioparents and stepparents) and several minor kids shuttling between two or more homes:
Parenting effectively in this environment is far more complex than in "traditional" intact biological families - which catches typical co-parents and relatives by surprise.
Why this book (and series)? Families exist to nurture - i.e. to fill key needs of their kids and adults. Most U.S. stepfamilies follow the divorce of one or both new mates, most of whom are parents. Divorce suggests that their kids weren´t well nurtured in their first family, and have many concurrent developmental + special needs to fill in their complex stepfamily.
Therapist Peter Gerlach has researched stepfamilies professionally since 1979. This series of books and the related non-profit Web site at http://sfhelp.org come from _ an extensive review of stepfamily literature for his Social Work master's thesis, _ over 17,000 hours' classroom and clinical consultation with more than 1,000 co-parents and kids, and _ living in two stepfamilies. An ex engineer, trainer, and manager, Peter has also studied and taught communication skills for 30 years. He's been recovering as an "ACoA" son of two alcoholics since 1986. That led to research on the impact of a low-nurturance environment on young kids, and how clinicians can help survivors heal. Peter is an invited member of the Stepfamily Association of America's Board of Directors and a contributing editor to Your Stepfamily magazine.