This week, Dr. Jeannette Lofas joins me to discuss why the step-family unit differs entirely from a traditional family. She explains why the science, rules, and roles of the step-family are uniquely distinct. Dr. Lofas also shares insights and advice about how to make the step-family structure work for your changing family, following divorce and remarriage.
Jeannette Lofas, Ph.D., is a pioneering authority in stepfamily relationships, divorce, remarriage, and children. She is also the founder and president of the Stepfamily Foundation — the first organization in the world devoted solely to the problems and challenges encountered in step relationships.
Featured topics include:
- The step-family cannot and will not function as an intact family (12:03)
- Why identifying roles in the step-family system and defining rules is important (13:41)
- The role of the step-mother or step-parent (15:24)
- Dr. Lofas shares some of the rules of the step-family (22:19)
- The issue with the phrase “blended family” (28:07)
Resources & Links:
Join me for a special Split UP: The TEEN Years screening event on Friday, May 12th! To secure your spot and get all the details, visit http://kateanthony.com/split.
Download The Divorce Survival Guide Podcast Curated Podcast Playlist
The Stepfamily Foundation
Dr. Lofas on Instagram
Dr. Lofas on LinkedIn
A Conversation about the film, Split UP: The TEEN Years with Christina McGhee and Ellen Bruno
Learn more about Dr. Jeannette Lofas:
Dr. Jeannette Lofas (Ph.D., LCSW) is a therapist specializing in stepfamilies. Dr. Lofas herself is a divorcee, successfully remarried. (She is also a stepchild and a stepmother.) She has been helping stepfamilies for more than four decades and said there is not a question she hasn’t answered.
Dr. Lofas believes that the stepfamily does not and cannot function as a biological family. Author of four books, she has deep and specific knowledge of the science of the stepfamily system where the roles and rules are very different from traditional marriages. More an expert consultant than a traditional therapist, Lofas offers an approach which is actionable, practical and solution based to help you succeed in this different dynamic. She defines responsibilities and contributions for every member of the stepfamily and teaches communication skills, focusing on positivity, manners, visitation, the prior spouse, co-parenting and more. Dr. Lofas believes solutions come from education about how to manage stepfamily relationships – and she speaks to everyone in the family. Lofas is also a Certified Divorce and Co-Parenting Mediator.
Lofas is former TV reporter/film critic for ABC, NBC and CBS.
In her linked in profile she provides some background as to how she became a stepfamily expert:
“When I remarried I found myself lost and in conflict within my own new family. I was amazed to find that my beloved husband sided with his four girls rather than me. Before we got marred his girls and I were best of pals. I was devastated. My husband and I began fighting over his not taking my side, discipline, putting his children before me, and my 10-year-old son.
Dismayed I contacted every therapist in the state and then began to call all over the US. There was no one there. Having come out of TV on air broadcast news and being an experienced interviewer I turned to looking for and talking to others in similar situations. From that information I created my first book. LIVING IN STEP: A Remarriage Manual.
As a result people started asking me for advice. I decided to make a career transition and to counsel people who had remarried with children. My reputation as a writer and counselor spread so that I was invited as a guest on such TV programs as Oprah, Montel Williams, The Today show, CBS Morning News and Fox. I have also been interviewed by periodicals such as the NY Times, The Ladies Home Journal (Woman of the Month) and Vogue to name a few.
I live in constant gratitude and delight watching my client families grow from chaos and conflict to laughter and love.”
Dr. Lofas is the recipient of a 1995 presidential award for her ‘outstanding efforts in strengthening step relationships across America’ and is president of the Stepfamily Foundation https://www.stepfamily.org/, a not-for-profit that she founded in 1976. She is the author of Living In Step, with Ruth Roosevelt, McGraw-Hill, 1976; He’s OK, She’s OK: Honoring the Differences Between Men & Women, Tzedakah, 1995; Family Rules, Kensington Books, 1998; and Stepparenting, 3rd Edition May 2004, Citadel Books, one of the largest selling books of its kind.
Dr. Lofas counsels clients from around the world.