In this episode, Kate was joined by Professor Lisa Doodson to discuss stepfamilies following on from separation and divorce.
Kate and Lisa began by exploring what a ‘step or ‘blended family' is, as well as some typical challenges faced. Lisa talked about her own experience of being a stepmum and shared her tips on introducing biological children to stepchildren, as well as the importance of listening to your children and taking time when doing this. They discussed the notion of drawing boundaries and ways of coping with certain obstacles such as an uncooperative ex. Lisa shared her tips about choosing your battles, not falling into the good-cop, bad cop cycle, setting realistic expectations and what to expect from children of different ages and genders.
Lisa is a chartered psychologist and founder of HappySteps, a consultancy providing training and advice to both professionals and stepfamilies directly. As an expert in the field, Lisa frequently contributes to TV documentaries and comments in the press. The most recent being the BBC documentary following Rio and Kate Ferdinand on their journey to become a stepfamily.
As part of her PhD she conducted an extensive study on stepfamily wellbeing and has published several books on the topic including ‘How to be a Happy Stepmum’ and ‘Understanding Stepfamilies: A practical guide for professionals working with blended families’. Lisa has also developed a range of evidence-based materials, including workshops and courses that she delivers to stepfamilies and family professionals. All services, research and educational materials are managed through her website.