Stepcouple Challenges « Stepcoupling

Purchase Stepcoupling

Contributor to Stepmom Magazine

Become a Fan of Stepcoupling on Facebook!


Blog Categories:


Parenting Blog Directory

The Importance of Date Night

July 9th, 2015

Happy summer!  David and I have been away enjoying the sun.  We even went to Hawaii for a week of fun with our kids who live in Alaska.  We rarely get to see them. It was wonderful to reconnect in a beautiful place.

As we age, (yes, we are getting older) we think of how far we’ve come from those early years of stepcoupling with five full time kids. My goodness, that was hard! The mix of interfering ex-spouses, demanding kids, competition for attention, hassles at the dinner table, and day-to-day life sometimes felt overwhelming.  The kids all took turns at being angry and sneaky.  We had a big silver and burgundy colored Chevvy van and I was the chauffeur with no less than 5 or 6 kids wanting to be driven somewhere.  There were times I didn’t know if I could survive.  I still believe the only way we made it was date night.  Love, romance, good food that I didn’t cook, a glass or two of wine, and time for conversation. We always came home rejuvenated.

Now it’s just the two of us. The kids are grown with families of their own.  And the best part is that we all get along now.  The kids check-in with us often, hang out, share information and stories about their lives.  I never believed I would get to this place when we were in the thick of “stepfamily chaos”. We did it though, and I’m grateful every day.

Life is good…very good.

I wish the same for your stepfamily. I encourage you to schedule your date night today and make it a regular time for re-connection. Your stepcouple is the foundation of your stepfamily. Keep it strong!

Have a good summer and a fantastic date night!

Date night with Susan and David

Susan and David enjoying a date night in New Orleans, David’s home town.

Stepcoupling® Brand Is For Sale!

March 18th, 2015

STEPCOUPLING® BRAND FOR SALE!

Are you passionate about counseling? Are you interested in a unique opportunity to work with couples navigating the unchartered waters of Stepcoupling? Do you have an interest in teaching and helping stepcouples stay together with all the difficult challenges they face today?

This unique brand of counseling is available to someone truly interested in taking over the proprietary brand, Stepcoupling® and building it into a state-of-the-art business.

What’s in it for you? The potential for taking this business opportunity to the next level is exciting including, in-person as well as on-line work in the following areas: counseling, coaching, writing, blogging, informational seminars and webinars, lecturing, education & support groups, and anything else that supports stepcouples and directs stepfamilies towards success.

Stepcoupling® is a prevalent and increasingly common situation in   families today. Its growth requires fostering the counseling and the branded technique that I started years ago.

But it’s time for me to pass the baton on. And now, the Stepcoupling® business is for sale.

 

STEPCOUPLING® BUSINESS (the background)

My journey of Stepcoupling® is a personal one: a venture involving love and re-marriage and ultimately leading to a counseling practice and my book titled, “Stepcoupling®: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family”  (published by Three Rivers Press, division of Random House 2002).

My Stepcoupling® legacy began with falling in love with a divorced man who was raising his three children alone.  I was also divorced with full time custody of my two, young sons.  David and I fell fast in love!

Now nearly forty years later we’re still married and still in love.  We’re both retired… and aging. We remember the early days when our five children and stepchildren were young.  We remember the up’s and down’s, the drama, as well as the fun times. There was always some issue to deal with. Today our kids are grown with families of their own.

 

AND NOW…

I’m passing on the legacy I started years ago: that a healthy Stepcouple is the key to stepfamily success.  It’s the glue that makes stepfamilies strong and enduring.

My brand, Stepcoupling® with a service Trademark® is for sale.  It includes use of the word, “Stepcoupling” as well as the domain name, Stepcoupling.com, all content on the blog site, and the registered Service Trademark, Stepcoupling ® with the US Government.

Price is negotiable. There is tremendous need and opportunity here. One thing that is certain is that stepcouples need support, tools, encouragement, education, and ways to stay together. You could be that resource utilizing a well-recognized brand, Stepcoupling®.

If you are interested, please contact us. And, please share this. It’s a great opportunity for the right person!

I look forward to hearing from you! I also appreciate you sharing this with counselors you know that might be interested in this opportunity.

SUSAN WISDOM, MA, LPC (Retired)

 

Stepcoupling Book Review – Specific Chapters That May Help You Too!

February 12th, 2014

Valentines Day is the perfect time to focus on your stepcouple relationship.  If you’re looking for help and inspiration, read on…

Posted with permission by StepMom Magazine and Peggy Nolan
A Review of: “Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family
By Susan Wisdom, LPC and Jennifer Green

REVIEWED BY PEGGY NOLAN, MA, RYT in StepMom Magazine, February, 2014

If I could mail every new and struggling stepmom a care package, I would enclose a box of tissue for those first few difficult months, a new tube of pretty pink lip-gloss to give her spirits a lift, some dark chocolate and a copy of “Stepcoupling,” by Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green.

This invaluable resource is packed with information, tips and strategies based on Wisdom’s own stepcoupling experience and her professional counseling services for divorcing couples and stepfamilies.

“Stepcoupling” revolves around two major premises: The eventual success of the new family hinges on the quality and strength of the stepcouple’s relationship, and the success of the stepcouple hinges on the willingness and ability of both partners to grapple with personal and family issues.

The book has six main chapters that fortify stepcouples with new ways to think about old behaviors. Two chapters stand above the rest: Chapter 2, “Tailoring Your Expectations of your Spouse and Family,” and Chapter 3, “Shaping and Knowing Your Own Boundaries.”

Chapter 2 covers a topic that nearly every stepfamily struggles with – expectations. Many stepcouples expect their stepfamily to behave just like a first family. Your partner may expect you to love his or her children like your own (and you may be guilty of the same). You may expect to have the same span of control and authority in your home with someone else’s children. Many new stepparents expect the same warm and fuzzy feelings from the stepkids to continue after they have married the kids’ biological parent. When these things don’t come to fruition, you may very well be left with what Wisdom refers to as the Three D’s of expectations: disappointment, discord and disillusionment. If you find yourself feeling disappointed or disillusioned and you and your spouse are arguing nearly all the time, read the second chapter first.

The second most important chapter in “Stepcoupling” is the third chapter. “Shaping and Knowing Your Own Boundaries.” If you are a people pleaser or a chronic yes person, this chapter is vital. Too often, women in the stepmom role complain about how poorly their partner’s ex-wife treats them or about how their stepchildren disrespect them. This chapter helps stepmoms understand the value of personal boundaries and why they are so important within stepfamilies.

It is also the responsibility of the stepcouple to agree upon, establish and enforce boundaries around their marriage. In the beginning, your new marriage is the weakest relationship in the stepfamily mix. In her book, Wisdom asserts that strengthening the stepcouple boundary is of vital importance and requires intention, time and tack. When you create your stepcouple bubble, you take care of yourselves and the children in your home.

Wisdom explains how detrimental anger toward an ex-spouse can be. “All the vocabulary, time, and energy you put into anger at the ex is being diverted from other areas of your life,” she writes. For stepmoms who complain about how much power the ex-wife wields, beware of collusion. According to Wisdom, “the ultimate irony is what happens when a stepcouple colludes in anger toward an ex-spouse: The ex gets exactly what he or she wants. Ex-spouses who seem to sabotage your relationship want a loud and clear presence in your home. When you talk constantly about what a jerk your ex-husband is or plot ways to foil his ex-wife, you grant that presence. Maybe the ex isn’t there physically, but he or she rules your life emotionally.”

Ultimately, the everyday realities of stepcoupling are what get most stepfamilies in trouble. Some examples are mundane, ordinary things like chore distribution, parenting styles, discipline, finances, stressful days at work, the sick puppy, the pile of laundry, homework, dinnertime, etc. Different values and priorities will chip away and erode your union. That is why it’s so important to make your marriage and your partnership the top priority. When your marriage is solid, everyone in the family benefits. If you want to fortify your relationship with your partner, “Stepcoupling” is a must read.

Each chapter includes thought provoking questions that you can discuss together during your couple time. Stepcouples will benefit from reading about the experiences of other stepparents and stepkids and will receive practical and useful guidance to manage the complex challenges that can divide stepcouples.

The only topic that’s missing from this otherwise invaluable resource is money and finances. As you read through and discuss this book with your spouse, don’t forget to talk about your finances: child support, extracurricular activities for kids, college, retirement and every other area that money touches your life.

This Valentine’s Day, give yourself and your partner the gift of greater understanding by reading this book together to become a strong, united, and fortified stepcouple!

PEGGY NOLAN MA, RYT is the CEO of Frazzled to Fabulous, a website dedicated to helping women reclaim the lives they were born to live. Peggy is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post and The Women’s Toolbox. She is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of two. She is a 2nd degree clack belt in Muay Thai Kickboxing and a certified yoga teacher. Peggy and her husband, Richard, live in Derry, New Hampshire.

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon. Also available in your Kindle store!

 

SUMMER SANITY – Is there such a thing?

June 6th, 2013

School’s almost out and summer vacation begins. Vacation for kids is hardly a vacation for the parents and stepparents raising them.

The complaints: “THERE’S NOTHING TO DO!”
The requests: “Can so and so come over?” “Can I have some money?”   “Will you drive me to…?”
The demands: “Take me here, there and everywhere…NOW!” “Everyone else gets to do it except me.”
The moodiness, sulkiness, boredom and tears.
Give me a break!

Kids, especially preteens and adolescents, are the center of the universe. That’s what they’re supposed to be. Yes, your self-absorbed kids are normal!
Remind yourself of that!

I remember those long summers when our kids were young. The days were long and exhausting.  I thought they’d never end. I worked myself to the bone to accommodate and satisfy the kids.  I worried way too much about how they were doing, what they were doing and with whom!
Don’t be so hard on yourself!

As a confused and insecure stepmom, you wonder, “Why me!?”  You wonder if you’re fitting the bill.  Still you strive for perfection.  Doesn’t every parent/stepparent want to be the best?
Good enough is just fine.  You’re only human.

Words of Wisdom:  Stop! Step back. Take a break. You have to say NO sometimes. You have to take care of  yourself. You do count.  Go ahead and have some fun. For example, go to yoga or exercise class; call a friend, get off the computer, get out of the car, and leave the dirty dishes in the sink. It won’t kill you. Take a lie down, read a chapter in your book, or journalize if that’s helpful. Practice mindfulness.  It helps a lot.
Breathe, relax and calm yourself down.

This summer, enjoy the special moments …a thank you, a shared joke or experience, a family activity…or anything that makes you feel good.
You deserve it!

(First published June 2010 on my blog site and later in Stepmom Magazine)

Stepfamily Vacations – Deal Breaker or Connection Maker

May 7th, 2013

She’s been going out with this man. She loves him, but he has two kids and she has one.  She’s always said she’d shoot herself before she’d hook up anyone who has kids!  She grew up in an unhappy stepfamily.

As time goes on however, she loves him more and more and can’t leave him.  Besides, his kids seem okay.

Then comes their first family vacation together. He wants to take his girlfriend and all the kids on a camping trip. He loves to camp. He plans the outing and makes all the arrangements. She and her daughter agree to come along because he wants to share this with her.

The first afternoon and evening go well.  Everyone is excited. They eat dinner and roast marshmallows.  Then bedtime. Two tents. His kids want Dad in their tent. Her daughter wants to sleep alone with her. The parents want to sleep with each other.  They’d been sleeping together when their kids were at their bio parents.  But not this night.  They comply with their kids’ wishes and sleep separately.

The rest of the weekend goes okay, but clearly the pressure and tension of being together builds. There’s a nasty fight the last day over something silly like “the scrambled eggs were over cooked and cold”. In the end, his kids complain that camping is more fun without them!  Her daughter says that camping isn’t fun at all and she doesn’t ever want to do it again!

This is not surprising.  Several issues common in stepcoupling were working against them.

First, it’s a new and different experience for all of them. No one likes change, especially children, parents and stepparents who have already experienced so much change. They like their old familiar ways of doing things with their own family and not outsiders. It’s an uncomfortable stretch.

Second, it’s about competition.  Kids don’t want to share their parents with anyone.  The best part about camping is sharing a tent with the person you love the most, your parent.  That obviously was threatened by the outsiders/newcomers. From the adults’ point of view, they were competing with the stepkids for tent time as a couple.

Third, these two families were strangers to each other.  The adult affair was being carried on when the kids weren’t around. Suddenly all of them were cajoled into togetherness, “It will be fun to go camping together.” It sounded good but…

Fourth is the hype and anxiety that’s involved in planning and carrying out stepfamily trips. It takes both money and emotional energy to make it happen.  It’s hard for kids and adults, who aren’t used to being together, to be in cramped quarters like this. And then for it to be disappointing, it’s hard on everyone.

There are always surprises.  But it’s the surprises that make the memories. For example, we all remember one of our kids throwing up all over the SF Airport.  How embarrassing!!

From years of experience, I’ve learned some things the hard way…

  • There’s no easy formula.  It varies every time and there are always surprises.  Stepfamily vacations demand patience and flexibility. You never know what’s going to happen next.  And when it happens, the adults have to be ready to act.
  • It’s good to involve the kids in the planning…whenever possible. Kids need to feel that they’re an important part of the group process and that their wishes count.  Of course, the adults have to ultimately decide according to purpose and practicality.
  • It’s impossible to make it perfect for everyone.  The kids are different ages and genders, and have different interests to consider.  The binding force should be that it’s an opportunity for this stepfamily to do something together that transcends age, sex and interests.  Kids can be flexible and so can parents.I remember one special camping trip early on. It rained.  Our five kids spent hours pretending that the tent was an emergency hospital. They took care of their sick and injured siblings and parents and saved lives for the better part of a day…just like on TV.
  • Be the adult. Check your attitude along the way. As individual parents and as a couple, be ready to step in and put out the fires when necessary. There’ll be issues to iron out, glitches and disappointments. The best-laid plans can fail miserably, and sometimes the cheapest, most spontaneous outings are the best.
  • Enjoy the good times as they happen.  Appreciate and applaud them.  Remember to affirm the kids for special efforts, generosity, and patience.  Affirm their creativity to come up with stuff to do on their own. Commendations go a long way in family vacations. Incentives and bribes work too.
  • Use your sense of humor.  Laughter is sometimes the best medicine when people get tired and crabby.

I hope you have a happy summer vacation!

Susan Wisdom MA

Nike Air Max Classic BW Sko Online Nike Air Total Max Sko Online Nike Kobe 10 Sko Online Nike Air Max LTD 2 Sko Online Nike Heels Sko Online