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'It's not a competition' - How to avoid bad blood in blended families

Navigating conflict in blended or step families can be complicated.

Clinical psychologist Stephanie Bové says exceptions and explicit boundaries for all family members need to be set out from the very beginning.

Read more: Creating a 'culture' is key to making blended families work, says psychologist

She says honest and on-going conversations about hierarchy, roles and responsibilities need to be established by parents and spouses.

Bové advises that blended and step families have to manage various personalities and insecurities in order to make things work and avoid role-confusion.

The reality today is that [after a divorce or separation] the new relationships you become involved in are either step families or blended families.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

When looking at step families, it may feel like there's much more of a difficulty there.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

There's no competition.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Children are unnecessary victims in the issues between the adults in their lives.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Naturally, there will always be boundary issues between new spouses and previous spouses.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Your step children will always have a relationship with their mother. By virtue of that, parents will need to be in contact with each other.

Stephanie Bové, clinical psychologist at Saheti School

Bové says that names and terms do not dictate the meaningful relationships a step parent may have with children.

Also read: Communication and co-parenting tips for divorced parents

Several callers phoned in with their personal stories and Bové shared her expert advice.

Listen to the insightful discussion during the Family Matters feature:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'It's not a competition' - How to avoid bad blood in blended families


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