Blended families, also called step families, refer to families that have come together after separation or the loss of a partner. These families are becoming increasingly common as parents in marriages that end in divorce raise their kids with a stepparent.

Challenges may arise as two parents and their children come together. They all need to adjust to each other, to new routines and to new ways of behaviour. On top of the need to adjust to a new reality, the children may be experiencing the stress of separating parents.

This adjustment takes time and energy, and it may be very helpful to consider speaking with a therapist about the anticipated changes before they start happening.

To support the work of the people working on TherapyHunter.com, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

Looking for a specialist?
Get matched with a blended family therapist.

therapist specializing in blended families near me

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It may be difficult to find a therapist specialising in step families near you and you may worry about finding the right help. But you can put your mind at rest that it will be an equally effective option to go for online counselling. Online you will be able to choose the best therapist according to your needs. The therapist will attend to the unique challenges and opportunities that you are facing in your own family. To this end, both betterhelp.com and Regain.us are viable options to consider for the current and future needs of your blended family.

Challenges for step families

Challenges and complexities accompany the merging of families even if the various family members got on well with each other before moving in together. Each member of a blended family will need time to get adjusted to their new roles while living together. Tension in the couple’s relationship may arise from issues with parenting stepchildren. Challenges for both parents and children in the reality of today’s families may include:

  • Strong or difficult emotions
  • Developing new relationships
  • Different parenting and discipline styles

One may wonder whether there is any therapist that is qualified to deal specifically with blended families’ issues. To this end, online therapy is a helpful and cost-effective option, as there is no need to haul everyone into a therapy room, but the couple or the family can work on their issues from the comfort of their own home.

Looking for a specialist?
Get matched with a blended family therapist.

To support the work of the people working on TherapyHunter.com, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

Some other challenges faced by both the couple and children in blended families include:

Becoming a new parent in a blended family.

Some adults will need time to adjust to parenthood as they enter a step family without children of their own. Their first role as parents will be as stepparents and this may cause stress. The adult may face a difficult time to work on their relationship with their partner whilst adjusting to their new role as parents to stepchildren. It can also take time to be accepted by the partner’s children and to parent them well.

Relationships between ex-partners and stepparents.

When adults end their relationship with their partners, they will still need to communicate when children are involved. Children’s time with their first parents may be planned by the court and stepparents will need to adjust accordingly. Strained relationships between ex-partners and stepparents can make the blended families’ adjustment more difficult. These difficulties between the adults can increase tension and they may also affect the children’s behaviour.

Children’s adjustment to change.

Ongoing changes in their lives, may mostly affect the children as this causes them stress. A child may feel grief for the loss of their old family dynamic. They have been through their parents’ divorce and now they need to adjust to the new arrangements in their blended family. They may express their frustrations through behavioural or emotional outbursts. To this end children benefit when they are given the time to express their feelings in a safe space while supported by a specialised therapist, making the online therapy session a viable and safe option to consider.

Children’s relationship with their stepparent.

Children may have to deal with difficult feelings as they try to adjust to a new stepparent. Becoming a blended family may change the children’s relationship with their parent’s partner whom they were used to treating as a friend. Now this stepparent is becoming their parent and some children may resent this person as they feel they are trying to replace their real parent. They may resist against what the stepparent has to say.

Children may also feel that the divorce happened because of the new parent. They may also experience issues with trust and feelings of abandonment by the biological parent.

In these changing times for their family, children may benefit from online therapy to learn how to accept the new parent at their own pace, while understanding the challenging process they are going through. A good mother/daughter relationship therapist online could be very helpful as well.

Children’s relationship with their stepsiblings.

As children try to understand their new place within the blended family, there may be issues with sibling rivalry, bullying, fear that their parent might start preferring the stepsiblings, competition for attention and insecurities. Although children from opposite sides of the same blended may have the same origin story, they may have radically different experiences of it. These perspectives within the same story are often key to help the therapist intervene appropriately.

blended family counseling near me

All these challenges can arise as the blended family members try to adjust to their new reality. Not all the individual members may adjust at the same pace, and they will benefit from the specialised suppost of a therapist during an online session. This is a good option which offers the same professional service as face-to-face sessions. To this end both betterhelp.com and Regain.us are viable options to consider. In the end, as family members are supported to understand each other better, their experience within their blended family develops in a healthier manner and the family bond is strengthened.

Blended families may be more complex and offer different challenges than other families. But as recent studies show, the most resilient stepfamilies are the ones who have a strong couple bond, openly communicating about their challenges, and solve their problems collaboratively. Obstacles and barriers can be overcome. Grief can be soothed. Connections can grow. And all require care and patience with the right support.

Does the online therapy accept payment through my insurance?

If you consider using your health insurance for online therapy, check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health insurance benefits?
  • What is my deductible, and has it been met?
  • How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
  • What does the coverage amount to per therapy session?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Josiane Camilleri

Josiane Camilleri

Professor

Writer for Therapy Hunter as well as psychology
professor at Malta University.

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