Among the many variations of blended families, the establishment of stepfamilies may follow bereavement, separation or divorce; and there may be stepchildren living part or full-time in the new family.
When we lose a stepchild, although we may have loved and cared for them, lack of recognition of our grief may leave us feeling an outsider in our own family. This may also apply to stepparents who have joined the family after the death of a child.
For stepparents, grieving may be a precarious journey as we try to balance the needs of our partner, our own feelings and other family relationships. However, we can play a supportive role and patience, understanding and tolerance are of the utmost value.
TCF’s leaflet The Death of a Stepchild looks at issues that may arise when birth parents come together to organise funeral arrangements; how stepparents can help surviving children; the feelings of stepsiblings; possible feelings of guilt when your partner has lost their only child and we have surviving children; or if you had a difficult relationship with the child who has died.
The leaflet Grieving Child Loss in Blended and Step-Famlies might also be helpful.
Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.