The Web address of this
Clicking underlined links here will open a
new window. Other links will open an informational popup,
so please turn off your
browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site.
Follow underlined links after
finishing this article to avoid getting lost.
This brief YouTube video previews what you'll find in this article. The
video mentions eight lessons in this Web site: I've reduced that to seven.
This is one of a series of Lesson-7 articles
on howtoevolve a
stepfamily. The "/" in re/marriage and re/divorce
notes that it may be a stepparent's first union. "Co-parents" means both
bioparents, or any of the
related stepparents and bioparents co-managing a multi-home
This article summarizes three levels of common stressors in
families and stepfamilies: surface > intermediate > primary. Most family adults
and human-service professionals focus only on the surface
level, so the underlying problems go
unresolved and the surface symptoms recur. Once aware of these
problem-levels, family adults can work together to resolve their primary
problems and raise their family's nurturance level.
All adults and kids want stable, safe, satisfying relationships and
families. The size and scope of the coaching, counseling, and therapy professions
suggest how elusive these prizes are. Based on
research and clinical experience,I propose why this
is and what you can do about it.
all personal and social "problems" are unfilled
psychological + spiritual + physical needs
(discomforts); [ Agree /
Disagree / ? (It depends on...) ]
all families and relationships exist to nurture (fill
personal needs). Some nurture better than others. (A D ?)
typical needs range between surface,
intermediate, and primary; and immediate to long-term. (A D ?)
most people aren't trained or motivated to
stressful surface "problems" and the unfilled primary needs
that cause them - i.e. they don't know what they don't know. (A
make what follows more vivid, pause now and mentally identify the top three
interpersonal things that are causing you significant "stress" (worry,
frustration, guilt, shame, resentment, hurt, anxiety, dread, etc). See what level these
stressors are per the
Typicaldivorcing families and stepfamilies have
a mix of three levels of concurrent problems:
Level 1) Typical
SURFACE Problems over...
finances - asset and debt
ownership and management, including investing, child
support, insurance, and estate plans
public and media unawareness and denials of the
lethal [wounds + unawareness]
cycle and its toxic
effects. This results in
legislation and policies allowing...
unwise marriages and unqualified child conceptions,
ineffective parenting and
low-nurturance families, and...
neglect and abuse.
serious psychological wounding,
and spreading these toxic effects down the generations.
Have you ever seen this three-level concept before? Does it seem
credible? Would you agree that average adults, all kids, and many
human-service professionals are unaware of this concept?
When you have significant personal, relationship,
and/or family "problems" (level 1 above) you're probably
unaware of what's really causing them. If so, your efforts to
solve the problems probably won't fill your primary needs
That promotes frustration, arguments, self-doubt, self-criticism, shame
("stress") and re/divorce.
When people you care about have significant personal and relationship problems, you
may be able to provide temporary (surface) help - but unless you all identify their underlying
(level 2) needs, their surface discomforts will
probably return in some form.
your thoughts now...
If your family's adults don't commit to learning (a) the level-2 topics above and (b) how
dig down from surface problems to
discern your primary needs (levels 2 and 3 above), then...
nurturance-level of your family and relationships will be lower than it could be, and...
your psychologically-wounded kids will leave home not knowing how to discern and resolve
their primary problems. This will...
inexorably stress them, spread the
unseen [wounds + unawareness]
cycle, and weaken our society.
If you're used to being controlled by well-meaning, short-sighted
false selves, you risk focusing on surface (level 1) problems; achieving far less than
your true potential as a worthy, talented person; and
If you don't
alert other people to
what you read here - specially parents and teachers, who will?
the habits of...
checking to see if your true Self is
guiding you, and...
asking yourself "What do I
really need here?" in stressful and
confusing situations; Then...
Practice applying these
to your life and teaching them to young people; and...
studying and applying the concepts and tools in Lessons
1 thru 7,
and encourage others to do the same.
This article proposes that human "problems" are
unfilled needs -
emotional, and spiritual discomforts. Problems often come in clusters
need to be prioritized to avoid confusion and overwhelm.
article illustrates three levels of typical adult problems in average
divorcing and step families: surface > intermediate > primary. Until
adults identify their underlying needs, their surface problems will
Learning to use awareness and dig-down skills as teammates is an
effective way to discover current primary needs in any relationship. Then use the other
communication skills in
Lesson 2 to satisfy
everyone's current needs well enough.
Learn something about yourself -
take this 1-question anonymous