Stepparent-Child Relationship Stages

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Stages of the Stepparent Child Relationship billy williams hinds community college Abstract The interaction between a child and a new stepparent can be considerably more complicated than the average relationship. The six stages of an interpersonal relationship are still present, but a stepparent is thrust into a position of authority, and may be perceived as a replacement for the biological parent. This paper attempts to explain some of the confusion, internal conflict, resentment and frustration that may stem from the remarriage of a parent. Some child-stepparent relationships do not start out under the best of circumstances, but functional relationships can develop. Ideally this paper will give a snapshot of the complex mechanisms of a stepparent-child dynamic as they relate to the six stages of a an interpersonal relationship. Stages of the Stepparent Child Relationship Most sustained interactions fit a general mold, but the relationship between a child and a stepparent has special characteristics. A plethora of sources contest that families undergo some level of difficulty in establishing a family structure after a remariage. (Henderson & Taylor, 1999). Although some stepparent-child bonds become extremely strong, the hurt, uncertainty and hesitation that many experience is undeniable. This awkward stage may even develop into full fledged animosity especially if a child feels that a potential stepparent is trying to replace a biological parent. Stepparents and their legal stepchildren may indeed experience many of the broad stages of interpersonal relationships, but the unique circumstances of remariage complicate every aspect of the process. The introduction between a child and a potential stepparent is different from many other relationships, because it may make the child feel that the situation
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