Stepfamily Realities 33 - 34: Typical Stepkids' Needs
My stepfamily research since 1979 suggests: (1) typical children of divorce get too little wholistic nurturance in their early years; (2) Family divorce is a clear symptom (vs. proof) that one or both co-parents were psychologically wounded and unaware; (3) If wounded ("mentally ill") bio-parents don't progress with true personal recovery, their dependent kids are at significant risk of inheriting the wounds; (4) Wounded adults choose each other as mates repeatedly until in true recovery; and (5) Stepfamily complexity and problems usually make true wound-recovery harder for co-parents and kids who need it. Do these premises make sense to you?
Parental separation and divorce themselves don't cause psychological wounds. Neither does parental re/marriage or stepfamily life, though they may amplify existing wounds. Co-parents' protective denials of childhood neglect and abuse, and unawareness of the impacts of their psychological wounds, usually pass them on to their kids.
After parental divorce, typical minor or grown stepkids have up to three dozen adjustment needs that peers in intact high-nurturance biofamilies don't have. If stepkids are (a) in a high-nurturance stepfamily environment, (b) have recovering co-parents who all know of the kids' developmental and family-adjustment needs, and who (c) cooperate to provide effective help with these needs, then there is no inherent reason that stepchildren won't "turn out" as well as kids growing up in average-nurturance bioparent homes. However, these criteria are not met in most U.S. stepfamilies.