Understanding and working with Stepfamilies

Module Sections:

Applying the Framework & Post-Test

Richardson Family Vignette

Bob is a widower with two children. He and Carol have been married for 12 years when she died suddenly. He has been struggling as a single parent since her death 2 years ago (grief over previous relationship interacting with the development of new roles and expectations within the new partnership). He lives in a rural community and owns a small farm. Bob has two children, Brad, age 10, and Sarah, age 8 (interactions occurring among members' multiple individual developmental levels). The family also owns livestock and the children have daily chores to assist in the smooth operation of the farm. Bob began attending a single parent support group in a nearby city and met Judy. Judy is recently divorced (in the past year), and has one daughter Brooke age 15. Brooke has been diagnosed with Aspergers and they have been coping with behavior problems for some time (interaction between family development, a member's mental health condition and adolescent developmental stage). Bob and Judy date for a brief period of time, approximately six months and decide to marry. Judy is renting an apartment in the city, so the decision is made that Judy and her daughter will move to the farm. Bob's farm is 35 miles from the city where Brooke grew up, so she will be attending a new school as well as be residing further away from her father. Judy's former spouse is still very much involved with his daughter and opposes the new marriage (establishment of a new partner relationship interacting with the continuing role of co-parenting with someone from a previous relationship). Judy is used to a substantial alimony payment but is not concerned because she is so in love with Bob. Bob's children enjoy time with Judy although Brad has expressed some concern about everyone living together. He was very close to his mother and Sarah is not sure she wants to share her space full time.

Audio Companion: Understanding Stepfamilies