Helping you create the life you desire

Step Family Counseling

Whether you call them step-families, blended families, or bonus families, people who join together already existing families have lots of challenges accompanying the joy family life can bring. Counseling can help. Ideally, couples will come to counseling prior to combining their families. Being proactive helps smooth out the rough spots in the first months and as the children age. I use the word "children" to include adult children. Sometimes we don't consider that they may have issues also, when a parent re-marries.

If you have already blended (there doesn't seem to be one great word for doing this) your families, counseling can help address and correct the troubles that have developed. It's never too late to undo misunderstandings and hurt feelings. These can be between the biological parent and spouse, the biological parent and kids, the step parent and step kids, the step kids from each parent and any number of combinations including extended family and ex's.

How Step Family Counseling Works

I will usually begin with both parents. After learning what issues are causing difficulty, we will explore each partner's background, beliefs about how step families should work, and what he or she views as some of the causes of the problems. Depending upon the ages of the children, we may invite them into a session so that we can get a better idea of how they see the challenges. Therapy may progress as couples counseling or we may choose family therapy. We will choose together what will work best with your situation.

Common Issues that Arise

  • Children's allegiance to the biological parent, whether new family was formed through divorce or death of a parent.
  • Joining families too quickly and disappointment that things didn't go smoothly.
  • Varying emotions, from anger, sadness, frustrations, jealousy, hurt feelings, anxiety over parent sharing love with others, guilt in preferring step parent to bio parent, etc.
  • Communication styles and habits.
  • Discipline styles and beliefs.
  • Money, allowances, loans, etc.
  • Yours, mine, and what about "ours?"
  • Parenting roles and style differences.
  • Extended family members.
  • Ex-spouses
  • And many more!

Why See me

Along with having biological and adoptive children, I became a step-mom to two daughters, 14 years ago. Prior to joining our families, I did lots of research on how to do it right and well. I've learned a lot from from all of our kids. I have also seen many step-families in my private practice. From my own experience and theirs, I am very optimistic that most step/blended/bonus family challenges can be addressed and solved. It takes hard work but the work brings great rewards!

Feel free to contact me about your specific family and what kind of help you would like.

 Karen Rowinsky, LSCSW, offers one-on-one counseling, marriage counseling and couples therapy, family therapy, and relationship coaching. Her Overland Park, Kansas office services clients from the Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe, and Kansas City, MO areas. 

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