Other Free Encyclopedias » Social Issues Reference » Child Development Reference - Vol 7 » Stepfamilies - Children's And Adolescents' Adjustment In Stepfamilies, What Affects Children's And Adolescents' Adjustment To Stepfamilies?

Stepfamilies - Suggestions For Parents In Stepfamilies

children family adolescents relationships

Children's and adolescents' adjustment in step-families can be encouraged several ways. First, parents can help children and adolescents adjust to stepfamilies by taking into account issues related to gender and age. The most successful stepfamilies have parents who are flexible and able to adjust to the varying demands that children's gender, age, and individual differences place on parents. Parents should have realistic expectations of new family relationships and should not expect close bonds immediately. Parents also should be aware that fathers and mothers in stepfamilies face different challenges and try to provide support for their partner's parenting. A strong marriage is the foundation of a successful new step-family. Finally, parents should work together to create warm, supportive relationships with their children and stepchildren. One technique for doing so is to create new family traditions to add to the traditions of the original families. In conclusion, although children's and adolescents' development in stepfamilies can be adversely affected by many factors, with parental support, most children and adolescents in step-families do not develop significant problems.


Booth, Alan, and Judith Dunn. Stepfamilies: Who Benefits? Who Does Not? Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994.

Ganong, Lawrence, and Marilyn Coleman. Remarried Family Relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996.

Hetherington, E. Mavis. Coping with Divorce, Single Parenting, and Remarriage: A Risk and Resilience Perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1999.

Anne Dopkins Stright

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