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This YouTube clip previews Lesson 7:
If you're in a stepfamily, please help improve lesson 7
by taking this brief anonymous
This is first of a series of lesson-7 articles
on howtoevolve a
high-nurturance stepfamily. The "/" in re/marriage and re/divorce
notes that it may be a stepparent's first union. "Co-parents" means both
bioparents, or any of the
related stepparents and bioparents co-managing a multi-home
This study guide assumes you're familiar with...
this nonprofit Website and the
LESSON 7 - evolve and enjoy a high-nurturance stepfamily
Families exist to nurture
i.e. to fill their members'
basic needs. Depending
on many factors, fami-lies (like yours) range from low-nurturance to
high-nurturance. This lesson uses the ideas in
lessons 1-6 and additional in formation to propose how to form and keep (a)
a flourishing re/marriage and (b) an en-during,
Typical divorcing families and stepfamilies are at special
risk of passing on the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle
and being vulnerable to these
Using the knowledge from lessons 1-6, this lesson will
empower you to...
understand the many
differences between complex stepfamilies and intact biofamilies,
make wise stepfamily courtship decisions,
form realistic stepfamily expectations,
patiently resolve many
role and relationship problems, and...
achieve a stable,
high-nurturance stepfamily over some years.
Lesson is based on 30 years' full-time clinical research on
stepfamily norms, realities, and dynamics.
four Parts are best begun in courtship, and
very useful afterwards:
1) Learn stepfamily basics
2)Essential courtship tasks
(to make informed commitment decisions)
3) Effective co-parenting
basics (stepparenting and bioparenting), and...
4) Solve common role and
each assignment after you
complete it to track your progress. Expect to take at least
6-8 weeks to fully understand, discuss, and integrate
the concepts in Lesson 7.
journal or log as you study these assignments to track you reactions and
aware-nesses. Your log can provide a source of rich
perspective in the future.
not already in a stepfamily, think of one you know
and keep them in mind as you study. Ask the adults to
comment on what you learn here.
these assignments with a partner (or
that shares your interest in learning.
1 - Learn Stepfamily Basics
A major cause of stepfamily stress and divorce is adult
unawareness and ignorance of stepfamily norms and realities.
A high percentage of available stepfamily print and online
information and programs are anecdotal and superficial (i.e.
not based on Lessons 1-6 here).
This first Part results from 30 year's full-time
professional research into stepfamily norms, dynamics, and
problem-solutions. If this Lesson seems complex - IT
IS. So is re/divorce.
Review the common traits
of a high-nurturance family (Lesson 1)
__ 7-2) Review
_ the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
cycle that burdens many
(step)families (Lesson 5), and _
five hazards it poses for
typical stepfamily adults.
__ 7-3) Scan
this glossary to
familiarize yourself with key terms and definitions.
My clinical and personal experience is that typical
needy stepfamily couples make impulsive, un-informed
courtship choices - and later regret them.
This Part uses Lessons 1-6 and
Part 1 to help courting partners choose the right people to commit to, for the right reasons, at the
right time. These arti-cles can still be very
useful after committing
your time with these worksheets, and pay attention to your
thoughts and feelings. They're as instructive
as your answers.
__ 7-29) When
you're both done, evaluate your findings together -
honestly. If you each feel confident
you're choosing the right people to commit
to, for the right reasons, at the right time - celebrate
and set the date!
__ 7-31) Use this
framework to help plan your
stepfamily commitment ceremony and honeymoon. They're
usually much more complicated than traditional
Effective Stepfamily Co-parenting Basics
Effective childcare is much more complex in
multi-home stepfamilies than typical intact biofamilies.
There are more kids, more co-parents, more relatives, more
role confusion, fewer social norms, and more concurrent
adjustment tasks to master cooperatively.
co-parents (and all kids) are unaware of these complexities,
and don't know how to balance and master them.
Based on 30 years' professional research, this
Part offers clear, practical in formation on
effective ways of managing these stressors IF
family adults have committed to make significant
pro-gress on Lessons 1-6 and Parts 1 and 2 above.
Take your time, and do these assignments in order. Ideally,
all the adults in your stepfamily and any professional
supporter will do these together. Do NOT work on this
Part without completing Les-sons 1-6 and Parts 1 and 2
above! Also, do NOT expect these Parts to
provide a quick answer to
Retake this quiz on
effective-parenting basics, and restudy
Lesson 6 as needed.
__ 7-57) Retake and discuss this
7, Part 4 -
Stepfamily Role and
family has conflicts over member roles (responsibilities)
These conflicts are more complex and more frequent in
typical stepfamilies because they have more members,
and fewer social norms to guide them.
The steps in this fourth Part use everything you've
learned so far in this Break the Cycle! course.
__ 7-63) Use these criteria to decide if you
have a pro-grief stepfamily, and _ write down your stepfamily's
__ 7-64) Review how to
analyze andresolve most relationship problems (Lesson 4)
__ 7-65) Use this
menu tolearn options for communicating well with common
Use this menu of common
stepfamily problems to learn effective solution-options.
__ 7-67) Retake this
quiz on stepfamilies to
validate what you've learned here.
+ + +
patiently studied Lessons 1-7, I congratulate you!
You now know more about personalities, relationships,
communication, grieving, families, parenting, and
stepfamilies than most laypeople and family professionals.
Does the claim "most family adults don't know what they
don't know" make more sense to you now?
Do you better
understand why I claim that...
there is little informed stepfamily
support available in communities and the media?
many re/marrying co-parents make uninformed
(unwise) commitment choices?
most printed and online stepfamily information is
the inherited [wounds + unawareness] cycle is spreading
silently throughout our culture? And why...
many stepfamily adults and most kids feel confused and
overwhelmed at times?
self-improvement guide uses Lessons 1-6 to help adults (a) create and
maintain a high-nurturance stepfamily, (b) break the
[wounds + unawareness] cycle, and (c) avoid re/divorce. The
guide breaks this complex subject into four sequential Parts:.
Learn stepfamily basics,
Essential courtship tasks,
basics (steppar-enting and bioparenting), and...
Solve common role and
These Parts are
based on 30 years' professional research
on stepfamily dynamics, and personal experience as a
stepson, stepfather, stepbrother, and step-grandson.