Adult Stepchildren

It is very important that you begin by acknowledging your own strong emotions about your parent’s remarriage. The feelings mentioned above are very common; if you don’t take ownership and responsibility of them, they may lead you into withdrawal, criticism, or hurtful behavior.

Without question, a parent’s remarriage ripples through the generations of your family. It may take a great deal of time for you to open your heart to a stepparent and their extended family. Don’t feel compelled to feel love for them, but strive to act in loving ways. Resist the urge to withdraw in anger or judgment. And finally, be sure to acknowledge that your parent has legitimate needs and desires that include pursuing a dating or marriage partner. Doing so does not diminish the important of your other parent, your family history, or their relationship with you.

New Beginnings

I strongly encourage both adult stepchildren and the new couple to educate themselves about stepfamily living. There is a labyrinth of emotion and practical transitions to work through and it takes understanding and effort by both generations. But it can be done. That’s the beautiful thing about love—there’s always room for one more!

This article originally appeared at SmartStepFamilies.com.

Ron L. Deal is president of Smart Stepfamilies™, director of blended family ministries for FamilyLife®, a popular conference speaker on marriage and family matters, and author/coauthor of a series of DVD’s and books for stepfamilies including The Smart Stepfamily, The Remarriage Checkup (with David H. Olson), The Smart Stepmom (with Laura Petherbridge), The Smart Stepdad, and his latest Dating and the Single Parent. Learn more at www.smartstepfamilies.com.

Publication date: March 15, 2013