The objective of this study was to explore the problems existing in stepfamilies, which affect the relationship between stepparents and adolescent children and their effects on the different systems within these families. A qualitative research approach was followed. Three focus groups were conducted with the respondents. These focus groups were exploring the way things are regarding the adolescent stepchildren’s appraisal of the problems of having a stepparent, relating to him/her; their available coping resources; and their coping responses in adjusting to the situation. The respondents reported limited family interaction. It was also discovered that they were not freely expressing their feelings, especially about their stepparents. Their respondents, their biological parents and their stepparents have received limited professional assistance regarding their to-be-established stepfamilies. The outcomes of this study have shown that the stepfamily members need more professional support in terms of coping with the family situation. The stepfamily members need guidance and assistance with the coping responses with the stressors of having a stepfamily. Further research is recommended to describe the stepparents and biological parent’s relationship to their adolescent stepchildren, in order to provide comparative data for the present study. A study can also be conducted to determine further needs of stepfamilies, especially before remarriage, with regards to professional support services, for instance pre-marital counseling, legal issues pertaining to inheritance, wills, maintenance of stepchildren, adoption and custody of stepchildren.
Dissertation (MA (SW) (Play Therapy))--University of Pretoria, 2006.