Typical life difficulties of single-parent families are more specific and deeper than in ordinary ones. Due to the fact that the father or mother is step-mother, relationships in a single family, like the seams of a patchwork quilt, are weak and unreliable. Deceived expectations, misunderstanding, inconsistency of actions - these and other difficulties create unnatural and complex relationships in combined families. What needs to be paid special attention in order to create friendly strong families?
The first thing that step-parents encounter in a new marriage is unfulfilled expectations. Perhaps the husband or wife expected that they would immediately love the spouse’s children and the children would also love the new parents, but reality deceived them. No need to rush things and torment yourself with thoughts that you can’t replace your mother or father in any way. People cannot adapt and get used to each other very quickly: according to psychologists, this will take at least 4 to 7 years. Therefore, you need to take it for granted: difficulties of this kind are quite natural.
The second typical difficulty of foster families is the lack of understanding. To achieve it, you need to learn to understand the feelings of other family members. If, for example, a child misses his father or mother, you should not prove to him that the love of a stepfather or stepmother is stronger. It is better to express your sympathy with tenderness and care, to ask what exactly the child most often recalls. Sincere conversations will help relieve tension in the heart of a child. Confidence will gradually emerge - an invaluable gift in human relationships. It is not given ready-made, it is necessary to work hard on its appearance. And this too should be firmly remembered.
Another common difficulty in the life of single families is the fear of children being strangers in their own family. Such fear often becomes the trigger for the accumulation of many problems. Particularly difficult for women in such situations. They suffer, accusing themselves of inability to extinguish conflicts, to get along with step-children. What can I advise? In an effort to spend as much time as possible with her spouse, it is nevertheless necessary to separate a part of this time for communication (and in private) with each child - not only her own, but also with her stepson and stepdaughter. Thanks to trusting relationships built on frequent communication, step-children will believe that they are loved, valued by them. By entrusting children with household chores, they will be able to prove to them that the family cannot do without them, cannot cope.
In order for the members of the integrated family to feel truly family to each other, and not neighbors on the common living space, the spouses must act in concert. The easiest way is to establish family rules and do not violate them under any circumstances. But there should not be many rules, and they should be clear. All disagreements between spouses should be discussed only in private. And joint trips, walks, and common activities will help the members of the single family to have patience in order to gradually get closer, to stop dividing into "friends" and "strangers" and finally turn into a happy, friendly family.
It should be emphasized that the lion's share of worries falls on the shoulders of a woman in such a family circle. She has to spend a lot of energy to constantly maintain home comfort and build good family relations between everyone. So let these tips help every woman to receive the highest reward of our whole life - a good strong family.
Both in Russia and in the West, the proportion of single-parent families in the total number of families is gradually increasing, and the proportion of children living in single-parent families is also growing. In Russia, the proportion of adolescents living in single-parent families (with a step-father or cohabitant mother) increased from 1994 to 2012 from 8% to 14%. In the USA U.S. Census Bureau after 1990 does not collect relevant statistics. Of the 60 million American children under the age of 13, an estimated half live in single-parent families. In Germany, 13.6 percent of families with children under the age of 18 are single-parent families, and about 10.9 percent of children under the age of 18 live in single-parent families. Thus, a single family is the third most common type of family in Germany, after a nuclear family and a single-parent family. In France, in 2006, about 1.2 million children under the age of 18 out of a total of 13.6 million (or 8.8 percent) lived in single-parent families.
For members of the integrated family, there are special terms denoting their family ties:
- stepfather - mother’s husband in relation to children,
- stepmother - father’s wife in relation to children,
- stepson - son in relation to the husband or wife of the father or mother’s relatives,
- stepdaughter - daughter in relation to the husband or wife of the father or mother’s relatives,
- half-brother - the son of the husband or wife of the father or mother in relation to other children,
- half-sister - the daughter of the husband or wife of the father or mother in relation to other children.
The terms half-brother and half-sister can be used in relation to relatives only by father or mother to children, but this is a mistake.