Issues Within Remarriage
Initial stressing issues are a highly responsible for issues that appear in the future. Many times the biological parent is caught in the middle between the stepparent and her children. Introducing a stepparent can often be very strenuous to the biological parent. Remarriage sometimes involves a re-location to another town. The geographic move can cause stress in the children's school, the child's peer group, and many other places. This move may also make the issue of seeing the absent parent difficult. (Crosbie-Burnett, 1989)
The age that remarriage occur is also an issue in the success of the remarriage. Children under the age of five have shown positive effects from remarriage. School age children have shown to be more vulnerable to remarriage stressors than non school age children. School age children are much more aware of the stress of remarriage. (Crosbie-Burnett, 1989) Initial family issues occur early in the process of forming a combined family unit. These issues might even form during the dating period of the partners. Initial issues don't start when the marriage certificate is signed, but when the children first learn of the relationship. Counselors can analyze the situation before the formalization of the relationship and plan an appropriate way to handle the issues they find. In remarried families the role of the new parent is often unknown. Children are routinely placed in situations where they have to label the new members of their family. Counselors suggest that talking with the children and agreeing on a comfortable name for the new family members is a good idea. (Walsh, 1992) Loyalty to the absent biological parent is an issue in remarriage. Many children feel a loyalty to the absent parent and are reluctant to show affection to the stepparent. Children often feel that the absent parent will get upset or be offended if they show affection or likeness towards the stepparent. Stepparents feel that the relationship with the biological parent will undermine the relationship they are trying to have with the child. (Walsh, 1992) Loss of a biological parent can also cause issues of lack of closeness in the remarried family. Children are grief stricken and often angry after the loss of a parent. The issue of losing a parent needs to be resolved before any successful remarriage can occur. If the issue is not resolved it can effect the development of the child. Bonding is thought to occur in stepfamilies immediately. Bonding occurs over time and sometimes never occurs in stepfamilies. Because two adults love each other does not mean that the children will love the new spouse or that the spouse will love the children. Bonding can not be forced and has to occur on its own in time. When divorce occurs many children believe that there is a chance of reconciliation between their biological parents. When the children realize that reconciliation is not going to occur they often have a problem with their parent marrying someone else. (Walsh, 1992) New families also experience issues that occur after the initial formation of the remarried family. These issues are created on a day to day basis. Many of these issues can spiral into bigger issues if not resolved immediately. Discipline is often a controversial subject in remarried families. Many children feel that the stepparent is not their real parent and should not be able to punish them. Stepfathers are more likely to be effective disciplinarians if they form a friendship with the child, and take a gentle approach. Parents need to establish how to discipline children in advance so they can show a united front. (Walsh, 1992) Sibling rivalry occurs in remarried families as well as nuclear families. Sibling rivalry is often based on age. When remarriage occurs and there are new siblings the hierarchical standings are unclear. The lack of hierarchical clarity can cause rivalry between siblings. (Walsh,...
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