Thursday, June 7, 2012

Custody issues / Step-in laws

I will be blogging Q&A from "stepfamily" events that we have spoken at. Hopefully, these will be helpful for you!

What have you learned about custody arrangements? What seems to be best for the kid’s stability during the school year?

The key to any custody arrangement is:
    • the absence of conflict between the divorced couple
    • the access of each parent to the child
    • keeping the child as stable and secure as possible
Given the trauma that surrounds divorce and/or death, the above is not easy. Plus, given the possible involvement of the legal system, problems are compounded.
It brings to the front the need for maturity, commitment to the child and most of all, good communication and conflict resolutions SKILLS. Children don’t get divorced – just the adults. The child is still dependent on the parents and impacted by their actions and attitudes (particularly toward each other).
How do you deal with rejection from the step-in laws step-kids?

The sense of rejection means we have expectations that weren’t met – or a condition that wasn’t satisfied. It’s called “love with a hook in it.” Many times we expect reciprocity or immediate gratification from our efforts as we move toward our step-relatives. However, these are “baby” relationships (new). These take time to develop. If we are trying, with our best intentions, to reach out, join and/or incorporate into the new step-system, we may be setting ourselves up for rejection or getting ignored. Others may not be ready to include us at the level we want to be included. Again, all of this takes time.

It is always more productive to take action that is right thing to do and release our expectations of the other parties involved. This requires maturity, relational SKILLS, and stepfamily education. Knowing what is normal frees us up to accept the territory we are in.


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About Me

Carri is a documentary film producer and communication skills trainer. She and her husband speak nationally on relationships, communication and stepfamily development.