Interview with Catherine Audibert *, psychologist and psychoanalyst. Here are his tips ...
Is it a utopia to think that a stepfamily can be happy ?
No, it's far from being a utopia, otherwise nobody would risk it, renouncing at the same time the loved one. But you must know that everything is not done in a day, and that love is not enough in this story. It will take time for everyone to find his place and new benchmarks.
Is there an ideal case of the stepfamily ?
There is no ideal scenario for the redesign, because the success of the company will depend mainly on the ability of adults to overcome obstacles, and to compose a new story despite the complexity of the ingredients. Certainly, it is said that it is easier for a step-parent to deal with small children rather than teenagers, or a child of the opposite sex, rather than the same sex as the step-parent, for example. But I would say that what matters is that the other parent, the one who lives elsewhere, accepts the new situation of his ex-spouse, and does not promote a conflict of loyalty among children by displaying too much his resentment, hatred or pain.
Are there any ready recipes: let the authority of the spouse express themselves, make a common baby?
There is no ready recipe for the fact that family recompositions are varied, and that what is played is dependent on the history of each, his expectations, his wounds, his "character". What will work in one family, will not be possible in another, and when we believe that there is only one way to do that is good, we find ourselves in check and we suffers doubly. It is better for the couple to find their own benchmarks for the family to work.
What advice could you give to a family preparing to become a stepfamily ?
Do not forget that this new family must be rebound around the couple. Finally, what appears most reassuring for the children is to find, after the upheavals of the separation of the parents, a family structure (on one side and the other) where everyone has his place in the order generational. A blended family should not be divided vertically (the man and his children on one side, the woman and her children on the other). The couple is more likely to succeed by being welded and complicit in educating children whether they come from their bed or not, as children need to rely on adults to grow up.
* Author of "Oedipus and Narcissus in stepfamily", Editions Payot.
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