Feeling alone and disconnected is often reported by many stepfamily members. Adults feel that nobody really understands them, nor can anyone relate to what they are going through. In a support group, people often find comfort in like-minded and like-experienced people. Together they learn what works and what doesn’t work. They support one another in their trials and tribulations, on this complex road to establishing a step family that feels and operates like a real family.
The following 7 tips will shed some more light on the benefits of being part of a step family support group. You will:
- Meet like-experienced people.
- Get validation for your step family life style.
- Learn from other people’s experiences.
- Express your frustrations and concerns.
- Share your successes with the group.
- Start a support group in your area.
- Mentor other step families in starting a support group.
1. Meet like-experienced people.
A stepfamily support group provides the opportunity for remarried individuals to meet others who have been through experiences similar to their own. They feel like they can relate to one another more freely and openly.
2. Get validation for your step family lifestyle.
Adults in stepfamilies frequently feel that they have to conceal the fact that they are part of a stepfamily for fear of being wrongly judged as people who failed in a previous marriage, and in parenting skills. In a step family support group they meet people who are understanding and accepting of their family configuration.
3. Learn from other people’s experiences.
A support group is a safe place to share what worked and what didn’t work in different instances. Group members learn from each other’s experiences.
4. Express your frustrations and concerns.
The group members are understanding of each other’s struggles with step parenting, former spouses, finances, and present marriages. For some, it is the only place that they can verbalize their feelings.
5. Share your success with the group.
Group members often feel suuccessful in certain aspects of step parenting. It gives others much needed hope to hear about it.
6. Start a support group in your area.
If the support group you are attending is far from your home, please consider starting one. If you decide to make the journey, contact me, and I will be more than happy to guide you in starting your own group.
7. Mentor other step families in starting a support group.
When you feel that you master the running of a support group, pay it forward and offer your help to others in starting their own.
The more step family support groups, the more step family success will happen. Step families are often confused as to where they fit in within the traditional family structure. Acknowledging that step families are different from biological families, not better or worse is an important step in embracing step families as a viable family unit. Step family support groups help greatly in step families’ journey towards feeling like real families.