Step fathers and stepsons relationship

Continuity and Change in Stepfather–Stepchild Closeness Between Adolescence and Early Adulthood

step fathers and stepsons relationship

Perhaps that's why many stepfathers disconnect from their stepchildren As your relationship with the children grows, often over a period of years, you gain. Most notable--and sad--was the marked frequency of strained relations between Stepfathers, on the other hand, have a wider berth to step back and let things As one man with a stepson told me, "I wanted my wife to be a mother to my son. When the growth of a romantic relationship evolves into marriage, many of Step-parents who expect their stepchildren to be obedient to them.

We conduct a parallel analysis of patterns of closeness to biological fathers for adolescents living in two-biological-parent families to gain further insight into how the prevalence of different relationship trajectories in stepfather families may be similar to, or different from, relationship trajectories in two-biological-parent families. The second aim of our study is to examine the factors associated with these different patterns of closeness to stepfathers over time.

In particular, we focus on factors that a distinguish relationships that remain close from those that remain not close, b are associated with relationships becoming close over time, and c are associated with relationships becoming less close over time. It is likely that multiple trajectories exist that are hidden by averaging across all families. Several qualitative studies suggest that stepparent—stepchild relationships vary greatly in quality, from being very close and loving to being problematic and destructive to being disengaged Ganong et al.

The Effective Stepfather: A Check-List to Live By - National Center for Fathering

It is unclear, however, which patterns are most common in the general population, or how much change these relationships undergo over time as stepchildren enter young adulthood. In one of the few studies to explore how stepparent—stepchild relationships develop over the transition to adulthood, Ganong et al.

These different relationship trajectories likely depend on the larger context in which these relationships form and develop. We know of no research that has prospectively examined patterns of closeness to stepfathers and the factors that are associated with changes in these relationships from adolescence into young adulthood.

Findings from studies that have examined the correlates of positive stepfather—stepchild relationships at a single point in time or retrospectively suggest a number of factors that may be relevant. Consistent with family systems theory Minuchin, and existing research on stepfamily dynamics e.

Family systems theory holds that all parts of a family system are interconnected, with each subsystem e. Children may also be more likely to accept and respond positively to stepfathers whom they perceive as making positive contributions to the family, including when they see their mothers in happy marriages Ganong et al.

Given the strong association between the quality of the mother—child relationship and the quality of the stepfather—child relationship, it is likely that the closeness of the mother—child bond, and any changes to it, will be associated with corresponding patterns of stepfather—stepchild closeness.

Indeed, when children leave the household and no longer live with stepfathers, mothers may be especially important in keeping children connected to their stepfathers. The number of studies that have examined this topic is small, and none has considered the possible long-term implications for the stepfather—stepchild relationship.

One study of adult stepchildren, however, found that girls were more likely than boys to report that relationships with stepparents improved over time Ganong et al.

With respect to age, older adolescents tend to report weaker ties with stepfathers than do younger adolescents King et al. The length of time a stepfamily has been together has been found to be associated with closer stepfather—stepchild ties in both adolescence King et al.

Longer durations afford greater opportunities for stepfathers to invest in their stepchildren and promote relationship building and bonding Ganong et al. Children who acquire residential stepfathers early in life are more likely to accept stepfathers as parent figures, and they may be especially likely to form attachments to stepfathers that endure over time Ganong et al.

step fathers and stepsons relationship

We also controlled for whether the stepchild was coresiding with the mother and stepfather at Wave III, as coresiding with parents in adulthood may be associated with both more positive e.

Stepfamilies and the Transition to Adulthood The current study captures youth during critical points in the life course. Youth have many developmental tasks to accomplish during the transition to adulthood, and parents often continue to serve as crucial sources of support to them during this period Lareau, ; Stewart, The prevalence of several types of risk behavior also peaks during emerging adulthood, not adolescence Arnett, For example, in childhood and adolescence, stepparents helped stepchildren with homework, coached their athletic teams, and taught them how to drive.

During emerging adulthood, stepparents drove stepchildren to explore colleges, fixed their cars, and helped them move. Thus, stepchildren who maintain close relationships with stepfathers, or whose relationships improve over time, are likely advantaged during the transition to adulthood. Stepchildren who are not close to stepfathers, or who are no longer close to stepfathers in young adulthood, are likely less able to draw on the support and resources of stepparents.

Emerging adulthood involves a number of transitions and new role demands, including the completion of education, moving out of the parental home, forming intimate relationships, and becoming economically self-sufficient. Young adulthood is also a time when individuals often redefine or renegotiate their relationships with parents.

step fathers and stepsons relationship

Young adults also have more developed cognitive and empathic abilities than do adolescents, which may lead them to think more deeply or reflectively about these relationships—perhaps to better appreciate what parents have done for them, or alternatively, to question how they were raised. The way parent—child relationships are redefined at this point is likely to determine the future trajectory of these relationships. For perhaps the first time, young adults have the option of not having relationships with stepfathers.

These co-parents had unrealistic expectations of themselves and their family relationships because they denied their identity as a stepfamily and what it meant to all of them. He also denied feeling and demonstrating a preference for his own sons, and seem to believe he "loved" his stepkids like his own. The adults had no awareness of this and what to do about it.

step fathers and stepsons relationship

There were probably other such conflicts too - e. And the vignette also illustrates that If so, this was inhibiting any bonding between the stepdad and the teen. The biofather was probably a Grown Wounded Child in denial like the other adults. If so, there were probably significant unfinished problems between the divorced parents which were not brought up in therapy. If all three of his co-parents were psychologically wounded, the adolescent boy had probably begun developing his own wounds.


Several or all of these people and other family members? The adults were unaware of this and how to evaluate it.

The Effective Stepfather: A Check-List to Live By

His disrespect added to the stepfather's disapproval of the boy. Because of the couple's widespread unawareness, most of these problems weren't identified as therapeutic goals. This ensured that - unless both adults were open to learning about and admitting all these problems - therapy would "fail" not improve the stepparent-stepchild relationship and reduce household stress.

Their wounds and ignorance made such openness unlikely. As is common, the biomom sought professional help for this growing problem in her home and remarriage.

Her "well educated" husband seemed to feel it was her job to correct her son and solve their problems, rather than admit he was half of the multiple problems.

This is GWC denial distortion in action. What do you notice about this daunting web of interactive surface and underlying primary stepfamily problems? Perspective Problems between stepparents and stepkids may surface during adult courtship, or develop over some years as everyone ages and co-parents' several biofamilies slowly merge. Problems are usually compounded by concurrent relationship stresses between divorcing parents, biological and step siblings, and adults and their parents, relatives, and in-laws In other words, stepparent-stepchild problems usually occur among an interactive web of family-relationship stressors.

The best way to reduce or adapt to stepchild-stepparent problems is to see them as part of a dynamic mosaic of all relationship problems in a multi-home stepfamily, not just an individual problem.

As a foundation for improving stepchild relationships, help all your adults appreciate the special adjustment tasks that typical stepkids face. Stepparents and other adults have their own complex family-merger tasks to master as they try to help their stepkids master theirs.

With any relationship "problem," two broad possibilities are: The first can only be accepted, not "fixed. Possible Root Problems If you have a stepparent and stepchild who "don't get along" well enough, several of the issues below may be contributing to the problem. Many of the links below will take you to a new article, so I suggest you finish this article before clicking any links.

Use this to test for this possibility.

step fathers and stepsons relationship

See this article for perspective and options. Follow the links to assess for this problem. They may not see that the child's "problem behavior" is a symptom of being overwhelmed by these many tasks.