Wales Counselling provides stepfamilies counselling services to help you work constructively through a variety of stepfamily problems

Claire McCluskey
M.Sc. B.A. Relate Cert C.C.
Registered Counsellor BACP & UKRC

Coast Road, Rhyl, LL18 3PL
07551 529 386


The word "family" will evoke individual images and meanings for us.

This may be formed of parents or adults and children.

It may incorporate extended family e.g. grandparents.

Traditional ideas of family roles e.g. "breadwinner" and "stay at home mums" have helped define family pictures, and our images and expectations of family historically.

Divorce rates and other changes have helped create more flexible forms of family e.g. couples in a same sex relationship, unmarried parents, single parent families or when children may be young or grown up.

Hayman cites family as "a group nearly connected by blood or affinity".

Forming a new relationship where the previous one has ended, whether through divorce or death, can mean dealing with ghosts of the past, dealing with grief, managing unfinished business.

Where there are children to the first relationship then communication with the ex partner and other parent may continue for many years to come for the children's wellbeing, particularly if children are young. Negotiating parenting with your ex partner may be tricky especially if there are a lot of conflicting needs. Children may feel very powerless in a parent's new relationship, particularly if there is another child to this relationship.

Roles can be adjusted and challenged by another relationship or marriage. This can be for the partners/ ex partners/ new partners / children/ grandparents etc. The system can get shaken up. The role which stays is that the children's parents will remain the children's parents despite what happens the couple's relationship.

If children know they are still loved and the parental relationship breakdown is not their fault, as well as not hearing parents "bad-mouth" each other, they are more like to cope better.

Counselling may help unpack emotive issues and help you work through these in a more constructive way.

Source: Hayman Step Families

For further information on parenting a useful link is:

For further information on mediation (where conversations and decisions about children or property can be conducted outside court):