Dec 17, 2019
Brian Mayer over the next 3 weeks will be talking about the stages
of stepfamily development. These stages were developed by
Patricia Papernow, Ed.D. We will walk through the early
stages in the first episode, the middle stages in the second
episode, and the later stages in the third episode of this
series. The broad view of this series is to understand that
there are steps that the life of the stepfamily will take and that
patience is needed to see them all unfold. We hope you
enjoy today’s message. For more information and additional
resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- If you have listened to this podcast for any amount of time you
know that we talk a lot about patience in the journey that your
stepfamily is taking. Sometimes we get so caught in the agony
and pain of the moment that it is hard to see through to what is
next or what is possible.
- In this 3 part series we will be taking a look at this journey
and what it commonly looks like for most families. This will
hopefully give you a good sense of what to expect as your
- In these episodes we will be using Patricia Papernow’s
3 stages of stepfamily development as the backdrop
for our discussion today. She breaks it down into Early,
Middle, and Later Stages.
- In today’s episode we will be talking about the Middle
Stage. In this stage she further divides this into the
chapters if you will: Mobilization and Action
- According to Papernow the middle stage can be quite
chaotic and often fueled by lots of conflict. The
differences used to simmer below the surface are now coming forth a
bit more often and with more severity.
- The Mobilization chapter is marked by the
couple in particular will fight over seemingly small matters but in
reality it is something else at play. The fights are more
about making changes. These changes are extremely
uncomfortable at times and will generate disagreements over the
smallest matters such as where is it best to hang a picture in the
living room or maybe even like what photos to display.
- The Action chapter is all about negotiation.
It is lots of discussion about how best the family should
operate and what types of boundary lines should be drawn.
When these boundary lines are drawn then every member of the family
can better understand their roles and how to function in the
- Check out Episode 120 when we discussed the Early
Stages of Stepfamily development which involve Fantasy,
Immersion, and Awareness.
- In the final Episode 122 of the series we will discuss
the Later Stage of Stepfamily development which involve
the Contact Stage and the Resolution Stage
- Just remember to be patient. The difficulties you may be
facing you family are temporary. You will move along and some
challenges will disappear and others will appear.
- According to Papernow, stepfamilies who move through all 3
stages do so in about 4 years. The average time for most
stepfamilies is 7 years and some can take as long as 12
years. Unfortunately some stepfamilies end in divorce, others
can get stuck in the early stages, and a small number complete the
- It appears that those who complete the cycle, tend to negotiate
the early stages quicker.
Thanks For Listening!
- With so many things that take time in our lives, I am more
grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it
is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are
binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in
about a minute! Take care.