The term "teachable moment" gets thrown around a lot — but what does it actually mean? One of my favorite educators and developmental psychologists, Rebecca Mannis, Ph.D., has a special guest post on my psychologytoday.com blog on holidays and the teachable moment.
In researching my book Stepmonster, I came across dozens of studies in the sociological and psychological literature on stepfamily adjustment concluding that stepmothers have the toughest adjustment trajectory; experience high levels of anxiety; and are prone to burn-out, depletion, and even clinical depression at rates higher than mothers or stepfathers.
I asked Kermyt G. Anderson, an evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, to weigh in on the topic of delayed childbearing. You know, older mothers! He makes the interesting point that in stepfamilies, we're often pushing our reproductive careers to the max, since we might be repartnering a little later in life post-divorce (or breakup), and then wanting to have a child or a family.
Today I'm running a special guest post by Mary Kelly-Williams, MA, a therapist and stepmother in Boulder, CO about boundaries. You need them if you're a woman with stepkids, but sometimes it's hard to know how to maintain them, how to assert them, for fear of being disliked or perceived as wicked. Here's Mary on how and why it's important to have your boundaries in the stepfamily, and protect them. Otherwise, you'll likely find yourself exhausted, depleted, and resentful. Have a read...and leave a comment!
Ever wonder if your/your partner's teen (or you) might actually be not only really into social media, but addicted to it? Today on my psychologytoday.com blog, check out the special guest post by Dr. Stephanie Newman...and leave a comment!
As we're addressing the concerns of you, women with stepchildren, a reality is taking shape. Namely, many of you could benefit from counseling. Either couples work or individual work, but something. But as stepfamily researcher, social psychologist and stepmother Elizabeth Church, Ph.D. notes in her book Understanding Stepmothers, it's possible that a therapist treating a couple in a repartnership with kids will do more harm than good. Church details that many of her patients came to her after being treated by therapists with no training, familiarity, or real experience helping remarried couples with kids. The results were unfortunate: therapists telling women to "treat stepkids just like they're you're own" and otherwise importing a first-family model to address stepfamily or stepcouple reality. Since stepfamilies are different, that doesn't work. These couples understandably became frustrated, discouraged, even hopeless before finding real help.
Marty Babits is a friend, colleague, and truly gifted therapist who does individual and couples work. His book The Middle Ground is one of the few out there that speaks not just to people in relationships, but those of us in remarriages or repartnerships with children as well.
I have a guest post on Jennifer Newcomb Marine and Carole Marine's No One's the Bitch Website today. As you know, I strongly feel that women don't need the additional pressure of "fixing it" with hubby's ex. Civility is often a difficult enough goal, and we need to be very careful about siphoning energy away from self-care and tending to our marriage, given how depleting stepmothering is, and how vulnerable remarriages with kids are to divorce. In the spirit of engineering the kind of civility that can make everyone's life easier, and in the hopes of fostering mutual understanding, here's my post.