Sunday, June 18, 2017
From Amy Ziettlow and Naomi Cahn, writing for the Institute for Family Studies:
In 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated. Today, more than 40% of Americans have at least one step-relative in their family. This new normal in modern families means that many children will send more than one card this Sunday to celebrate the father and stepfather in their lives.
Fatherhood is challenging enough, but a stepfather faces unique challenges. He may not have a life-long history of shared experiences and shared values with his stepchildren, so he needs to make extra effort to create a positive relationship. Although parents generally feel more responsible for their own children than for their stepchildren, and stepchildren feel less responsible for their stepparents than their own parents, many stepfathers and stepchildren have figured out how to reinforce their responsibilities to one another.
In our research on blended families, elder care, and loss, we observed critical ways that stepparents step in, step up, and step alongside their stepchildren that led to working together gracefully as a blended family for many years. The key element to this choreography was that the stepparent took the lead.
Read more here.