1. New Parents

When a relationship breaks down or a parent dies, the child may eventually be introduced to a new adult who takes on a parental role.  In some situations, a new adult may come along and everyone just gets on.  This can happen. But in some families, the new adult can lead to differences that are hard for everyone to cope with.  

Building a relationship with a stepparent is different to building relationships with new friends. With a new friend, WE decide if we want to be their friend, with a new stepparent, the parent decides, and the child almost has to accept that and develop the relationship whether they want to. It can take some time for the new stepparent and the child to decide how they feel about each other and how they all fit together within the new family structure. 

It can be a very intense situation. There are lots of emotions involved in joining a new family and having a new person fit into an existing family. It is important for all parties to realise that they have to try, that all parties are experiencing difficulties and so on. And just because a situation is new and different, does not mean it is necessarily worse than the previous situation.  

  • 2New Siblings

When a parent starts a new relationship or re-marries, the child may find themselves with a new family of stepsiblings. The parents can find themselves with new stepchildren.  The new couple may even have another baby, creating a new family consisting of stepparents, stepsiblings, but also half-brothers/sisters. It can be a complex arrangement for all concerned and can be hard to deal with. 

  • 3-New Grandparents and Family

Along with a new stepparent or stepsiblings, there are also other family members that may become involved. For example, a child may have new step-grandparents.  The couple will have new in-laws or parents of their partner to become used to. In some cases, after a marriage breakdown or bereavement, a child may have –

  1. Grandparents from their father.
  2. Grandparents from their mother.
  3. Step-grandparents from their new step-parent.

Depending on the family situation, all of these may want to be involved.