I encounter divorced parents everyday who neglect healthy parenting because they allow guilt from their divorce to drive their actions. They believe their children will never recover from the pain of divorce.

I refuse to dwell on the negative side of divorce and the emotional scars our children endure. I am fully aware of the consequences of divorce, but I do not believe our children have to suffer permanent scars.

In his book, Stepfamilies, Dr. James Bray outlines a comprehensive nine-year-long study of stepfamilies and reports that, “A stepfamily can heal the scars of divorce.” He goes on to say that, “a loving, well-functioning stepfamily can help restore a youngster’s sense of emotional and psychological well-being.” And–

A strong, stable stepfamily is as capable of nurturing healthy development as a nuclear family.

Wow! I love that! We have the opportunity to raise healthy children in our stepfamily if we offer stability through a loving, well-functioning environment. The responsibility rests with us as parents and stepparents.

So, the question becomes: how do we create a strong, stable stepfamily? I’ll address that next time.

Is your parenting driven by guilt? Have you allowed God’s grace and mercy to release you from your past?

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