Dr. Diana Weiss-Wisdom is a psychologist who works primarily with blended families. The insight she has gained from working with families and couples over the past several years has come in very handy recently because Dr. Wisdom just got married and now is the stepmother of three teenagers. In a recent article, Wisdom describes her experience adjusting to this new role, and how her professional experience has helped her along the way.
The number of blended families is growing rapidly. Sadly, second marriages have a greater chance of ending in divorce than first marriages do. That’s why Wisdom believes it is so important to learn how to stepparent effectively and successfully—for the success of the children and the marriage. Wisdom admits that when she became a stepparent, it was not always easy. Similar to what happens when you become a parent, becoming a stepparent requires that you put other people’s needs before yours. It can have a significant maturing effect on a person. “It’s really an opportunity for stepparents to work on their own character … you have a better quality of life because you have to rise to the occasion,” Wisdom said.
Wisdom reminds people that although the children are important, the marriage must be a priority. Kids who have already seen one relationship deteriorate really need to have the stability of a loving relationship. Couples who are having problems adjusting to life as a blended family should work on their marriage first. Once they are back on the right track, the children can be brought into family counseling with the parents if necessary. But Wisdom believes it is also essential for children, especially teenagers, to have their own opportunity to work one-on-one with a psychologist or counselor. Children need to know they can express themselves honestly and openly, without fear of hurting either parent. Wisdom recommends that couples take it slow, be patient, and take advantage of books, workshops, and counseling in order to become the best step-parents they can be.
Billing, Karen. Local psychologist’s new book offers “wisdom on step-parenting.” Rancho Sante Fe Reveiw. N.p., 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2012. http://www.ranchosantafereview.com/2012/11/28/local-psychologist%E2%80%99s-new-book-offers-%E2%80%98wisdom-on-stepparenting%E2%80%99/
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