November 01st, 2019

Episode 5 - Alison O'Mahony

How adults and children can thrive in a step-family

Are you a step-parent? Or are you raising children with someone who is not your children’s biological parent? Do you also have children together? Are you finding it challenging? Do you sometimes feel guilty for not really liking your step-children all that much, even though you desperately want to? Do you get frustrated with your other half for not disciplining their biological children? Maybe you resent the amount of your partner’s time they take up. Perhaps you’re having difficulty working out what authority you have as a non-biological parent.

 According to Alison O'Mahony, founder of Be Stepwise, that’s not surprising since many parents who find themselves in blended families have not had the experience of step-parenting before they come to it themselves. And yet step-families are the new normal. In fact statistically children born in the last decade are more likely to be step-parented than not before they reach adulthood.

Alison herself has had much personal experience of step-parenting and blended families. When she was a teenager, her mother died suddenly and her father met the woman who was to become her step-mother within six months. Alison had great difficulty accepting a step-mother while still mourning the loss of her mother and her step-mother likewise found her teenage step-daughter a challenge.

As an adult herself Alison became a step-parent to her husband’s two young children before they had two children together.

Listen to this episode with Alison O’Mahony if you want to learn:

  • Why being a step-parent is different from being a biological parent and what the role of hormones and genes are
  • How to cope with the loss of the old family, whether through divorce or bereavement, and adapt to the new family
  • What behaviours to expect from a child dealing with great change
  • How to work out the various roles of the biological parent, the step-parent, the grandparent and the ex-partner
  • How to communicate effectively with your partner to work out expectations of the children’s behaviour and together make this clear to the children. (See our 6 week Positive Parenting course Module 5 or our online course Module 4 on Family values and Rules)
  • About Alison’s 4 mantras for guiding successful step-families
    • Begin with the end in mind
    • Work in anticipation
    • Let the system carry the load
    • Accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Click here for Alison’s blog outlining the 4 mantras

  • How to have systems to share time between the adult partners and the children

In our celebration of vulnerability and perfect imperfection Alison shares with us a Low Parenting Moment of her own, this time with adult children, which just proves that even after lots of experience we can still make mistakes! I can vouch for that…

And Alison also shares her top tip for raising children, within a biological or a blended family, to be confident, happy and successful. 


twitter - @bestepwise

Instagram - be_stepwise





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