Maintain Genuine Family Love in Stepfamilies

Edited by Christine dela Cruz, Lynn, Eng, Doug Collins

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Although some look at stepfamilies as an interesting merging of different families to function as one, complications and difficulties cannot be avoided. Have you ever wondered whether genuine family love can actually be cultivated within stepfamilies? Have you ever struggled in keeping everyone together like families who are related by blood? There are definitely ways to overcome challenges within stepfamilies.

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Challenges in Stepfamilies

  1. 1
    Acceptance of each other.
    Oftentimes, the key factor in causing conflicts within stepfamilies is the lack of acceptance of all parties involved. There is often anger due to the feeling that someone has been replaced by another one. Therefore, instilling the fact that no one is being replaced, and instead, someone is being added, is a good strategy to reduce the anger involved in forming stepfamilies.
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  2. 2
    Differences in culture and upbringing.
    Since there are two or more families merging together, there is likelihood that there may be differences in terms of how they manage and interact within a family. Oftentimes, these differences lead to dislike and then conflicts further on in the relationship.
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  3. 3
    Societal judgment.
    There is somewhat an unspoken judgement of stepfamilies as being dysfunctional. This explains why the term "broken family" has evolved. This is definitely not a positive notion given to generalize stepfamilies. It creates insecurity as well as defensiveness in being a part of a stepfamily. This is even worse with stepchildren, who may end up putting the blame on their parents for leading the family to go towards that direction.
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How to Maintain Genuine Family Love in Stepfamilies

  1. 1
    Understand each of the members' uniqueness and background.
    When each of the members of stepfamilies spend time to get to know each other better, they may end up discovering that there's actually a lot of things to like and respect. This should be the first step toward a better beginning as a family. There are several activities that can be done in order to achieve this, such as:
    1. Joint trips to another location. Spending time together in a place that's not home and where everything else is neutral would be a good opportunity to focus on the family and appreciate what is there. This is a good chance to simply forget what society may think about being a stepfamily and find ways to be able to function as a "real" family. It is best to do a trip fairly far away, because the likelihood of coming across someone you know is low. In other words, all of you are strangers to everyone else around you and all you have are each other. No one will want to start a fight with companions when in a strange place. Therefore, it causes everyone to forget differences and learn to appreciate each other instead.
    2. Sports. The level of teamwork required in sports is very much similar to the camaraderie required in being able to form a happy and loving family. Sports let you complement each other as a team, utilizing everyone unique strengths and compensating for each other weaknesses.
    3. Art projects or anything that can be accomplished together. This is a good way to begin to like and respect each other for certain qualities. Being able to accomplish something together creates that good feeling that comes with success. Associating it with a stepfamily member would therefore start to create a positive feeling towards one another.
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  2. 2
    Respect the person for who he or she is and stop comparing to a previous family member.
    For example, if your parents separated and now you have a stepmother, you should just respect her for who she is and never try to compare her to your biological mother. More often than not, because of your anger about the situation, you will never be able to find any qualities similar to that of your mother. Always look at people individually, and begin from there.
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  3. 3
    Stop using the prefix "step" when referring to your family.
    Constantly using that term will only create an illusion in your mind that it is not like any normal family and that there is something wrong in your setup. Embrace it the same way that you embraced your life when you were born.
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  4. 4
    Yearn to always do good things.
    At times, this is all about knowing what's right and wrong, and no longer about the fact that one is in a stepfamily. If you only keep in mind what's proper, right, and respectful to do to others, you will not end up hating each other in a stepfamily. Keep your personal values strong and be constantly guided by them.
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Categories : Relationships

Recent edits by: Eng, Lynn, Christine dela Cruz

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