My preferred topic is blended family counseling. I decided to narrow down on the topic due to the increasing number of blended or stepfamilies in the contemporary world. A case study of America shows that approximately 50 percent of the marriages end up in divorce (Gold, 2017). Children from divorced families end up in a blended family. The children living in blended families account for almost 50 percent of the children in the United States. Additionally, 66 percent of second marriages in America end up in divorce (Kumar, 2017). The children and the parents are emotionally and physically affected by divorce, and blended families can affect them severely. Therefore, it is important to study the blended family counseling. I have experienced children from blended families who struggle in their education due to the family issues. On the other hand, children who are abused in stepfamilies have a high likelihood to engage in drugs or crime (Kumar, 2017). A counselor is responsible for ensuring a stepfamily is able to overcome various challenges and live harmoniously.
A stepfamily experiences various challenges, which can be resolved with the help of a counselor (Kumar, 2017). One of the major challenges is forming new relationships after divorce and still communicating with the ex-partner. Most children may require to talk or spend time with both biological parents (Zeleznikow & Zeleznikow, 2015). As such, maintaining the new relationship and still communicating with or visiting the ex-partner will require the intervention of a counselor. A family could develop relationship issues due to the involvement of the ex-partner in bringing up the children. Additionally, children from both sides may have issues growing up together (Zeleznikow & Zeleznikow, 2015). Therefore, it is essential for counselors to explore the topic of blended family counseling since it has great potential to reduce the number of divorce in the country.
Transitioning to Blended Families
A person who is planning to divorce and remarry would be required to take various precautions to ensure a smooth transition (Zeleznikow & Zeleznikow, 2015). Joining another family together with the children would be critical due to the various changes that would be encountered. A counselor has the responsibility of helping an individual or a couple, together with their children, to transition smoothly to stepfamilies. The first step is to consider family therapy as an approach to build strong and healthy relationships. The whole family is engaged before or after remarrying to help them open up, lay down their expectations and build their relationship on mutual respect (Gold, 2017). The family therapy helps ease the tension between the couples and the children. A counselor will guide the involved parties on how to start new relationships and maintain them.
The next step is to plan ahead. Couples who are planning to remarry can plan ahead by considering the various issues that may affect their new relationships. The preparation stage involves communicating with the children and the current partner (Gold, 2017). Preparing for the stepfamily is crucial since it will involve a change in parenting style, the geographical location, and separation from one biological parent. When the divorced partner or the children are not prepared adequately, they will not be comfortable in the stepfamily. A counselor can help partners from both sides and their children to start adapting to the new changes that will be experienced. Additionally, the preparation stage involves communicating with an ex-partner or visiting them when the children need to see him or her (Kumar, 2017). Therefore, the new partner should be aware that a civil relationship will exist between the new the partner and their ex-partner for the sake of the children. A new partner may reject the civil relationship. On the other hand, children may take time to trust their stepparent or step-siblings. The children may feel worried about the new relationship. It is important to reassure them that all will be well. Moreover, there is a need to discuss the feelings of the children with them (Kumar, 2017). The discussions will explore their fears and thus it becomes easy to address their concerns. The discussions should be extended to the stepparent who needs to learn what the children expect from him or her. It is thus crucial for the couple to visit a counselor to find the best way to transition to the blended family.
Blended family counseling is crucial in the current generation due to the increasing divorce rates and blended families. Blended families increase automatically when the divorce rates increase. Partners who are planning to divorce and remarry should seek counsel to ensure they transition smoothly to the new relationships. When the new relationship is not handled carefully, the children will be tensed and the marriage might end up in divorce. Statistics indicate that sixty six percent of second marriages end up in divorce. As such, it is important to prepare adequately to avoid room for speculation or tension. A counselor is crucial in the smooth transition to blended families. The blended family counseling is thus an important aspect of counseling since it helps parents and children to establish strong and healthy relationships with their stepparents and stepsiblings.
Gold, J. M. (2017). Assessment of Stepfamily Marriages: Implications for Family Counselors. The Family Journal, 25(4), 322-326.
Kumar, K. (2017). The blended family life cycle. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 58(2), 110-125.
Zeleznikow, L., & Zeleznikow, J. (2015). Supporting blended families to remain intact: A case study. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 56(4), 317-335.
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