Good News For Stepfamilies
By Sigi-Sandrock-Helgeson, M.Div., M.Ed.
Registered Mental Health Counselor with Northwest Pastoral Counseling,
When holidays approach, those who are biological and/or adoptive
parents will usually be recognized and celebrated in some way
by their children. However, for most stepparents there is little
recognition or “celebration” of the difficult and challenging
roles they play in the lives of their stepchildren. This attitude
has been supported by our culture, with stepparents often being
portrayed negatively in the media and in children’s stories.
However, there is a change in attitude that is exemplified by
Hallmark, the greeting card company. Hallmark now offers a new
line of cards “Ties That Bind” that are designed specifically
for non-nuclear families. Hallmark estimates that two of every
three consumers buying cards are members of a stepfamily or other
alternative family. According to Stepfamily Association of America,
these cards go right to the heart of the matter in recognizing
that things in stepfamilies, particularly in the early years,
are often chaotic. An examples of a card expressing this sentiment
is: “I guess I don’t need to tell you that it wasn’t easy for
me to accept you at first. But with time, I’ve come to know you
better and I’ve grown to respect you. I’m sorry for the times
I’ve taken my confusion or anger out on you unfairly.”
There are now cards available for stepsiblings, stepchildren,
for ex-in-laws, and fathers and mothers of your stepchildren.
By the year 2010 it is estimated that more than half of all families
in the United States will be stepfamilies. At last the culture
is catching up in some areas.
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