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1. Announcements - Katrina Help
2. Article: Are You A Stepparent Or Know One?
3. Inspiring Quote
4. Professional Services
5. Pass It Along



ANNOUNCEMENTS - Help Yourself & Help Katrina Victims
WEEK EIGHT! - Thanks for your help!

Feel doubly good about reaching out for help. You know you've been pondering lending yourself an extra hand in working towards your goals. You may have also asked, "What's the best way I can help with this bewildering disaster in Hurricane Katrina?" Well now, you can do both and feel good about helping the victims of the Hurricane Katrina natural disaster, as well as help yourself.

For the next 60 days I will donate 20% of all online service purchases to Luscious' Pantry. Luscious' whole life has been given to serving the poor. He runs The Lord's Pantry here in Indianapolis. My 6yo daughter, Sarah, says "Luscious is my grandpa!" He's a towering teddy bear of a man, always dressed in bibs and serving. His local vocation to serve the poor has always been more than he could really handle, but being the kind of man he is, he's begun a collection center now for Katrina victims. Your money will go directly for food and personal care items for those who are hungry, such as mothers who have no diapers for their infants or

If you'd rather donate a cash amount and don't feel you are currently in need of my services you can go to www.paypal.com and pay directly to my email address at turo-shields@sbcglobal.net. 100% of these donations will go to The Lord's Pantry for Katrina Victims. In the section for a "note" please write "Katrina Relief"

If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to call me at 317-865-1674.



Marli is a friend and colleague who is particularly passionate about stepfamilies. She helps build strong, resilient and happy blended families. Here is a great article by her. If you are interested in signing up for her newsletter please email her at:

Marli Howell


Several years ago my husband and I heard a sermon entitled "Cat Scratched Hands." The main idea was that, just like the owner of a new kitten, whose hands are repeatedly scratched through loving interactions, God must also have badly scratched hands from interactions with us. The sermon went on to remind us to lovingly reach out to others, even though our hands, and feelings, may feel scratched repeatedly.

This sermon comes to mind in thinking about being a stepparent, and probably a stepchild. Step relationships don't have the advantage of having started at the beginning and building. Suddenly strangers are part of the same household and scratched feelings can abound. Remembering a few things can help.

=> Be realistic about relationships. Love is not going to happen quickly. But, as in all families, respect can be expected. The age of the child as well as other factors, will make a difference in how quickly the relationship develops. With older children it may take a while. Be patient.

=> Don't expect "parent status" too quickly. A stepparent has not had time to build a relationship with a child. Remember that "Rules minus Relationship equals Rebellion." In the beginning a stepparent is an adult in charge, enforcing the rules of the house when the biological parent is not present, kind of like a babysitter or visiting aunt or uncle.

=> Strengthen relationships by doing things one-on-one. As much as we want to do things as a family, doing things one-on-one can build relationships more quickly between stepparents and stepchildren, especially when it's an activity unique to the two of you. Remember also that children need one-on-one time with their biological parent, to help with feelings of having to "share" their parent.

=> Partners need to agree on roles and rules. Stepparents and biological parents often see children's behavior differently. It is important to hear each others input, but generally it is helpful for the biological parent to have the final say at the beginning.

=> Try hard to understand each other. Differences abound in stepfamilies as different ways of doing things collide. Remembering that these are differences, not a matter of right or wrong, and listening can help. Learn to be aware when the internal defenses are popping up and find ways to calm them that work for you.

=> Remember that children are part of two households. Loyalty conflicts are inherent in stepfamilies, even when handled well by the parents. Using neutral language about the other household, refusing to be negative, even if the other parent is not supportive of this, and remembering the children are living in two "cultures" supports their experience.

=> Put priority on the marriage. Without the couple relationship there is no family, and it is the newest and most vulnerable relationship in the family.

Remembering all these things when feelings are running high isn't always easy, but scratches heal with loving care and, as kittens grow into cats and learn to sheath their claws, stepfamilies can learn to accept and support each other, each family in their own unique way.

Based on the work of Patricia Papernow.

Subscribe to Marli's Newsletter - Celebrating Steps



"The first couple of years are usually chaotic, because the family is reassigning everyone to new roles," says Margorie Engel, MBA, Ph.D., the president of the Stepfamily Association of America. "Everybody's jockeying for position in a new family. The order changes: the baby may no longer be the baby, or the eldest child may no longer be so. Everybody has to figure out where he/she fits. The challenge of a stepfamily is to make order out of chaos: all family members need to learn their respective roles, and to work/play together as a team..."

~~ Jeffrey Cottrill



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Myself or someone on my staff is always available to speak with you about our full range of services. In fact, we can recommend exactly the right service to you based on your needs. Coaching ALWAYS starts with a no-cost, complimentary session. And, our therapy services are guaranteed! No other company in my business that I know of offers this. Give us a call for more information at 1-317-865-1674 USA.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Written by Dave Turo-Shields, CEC, LCSW, ACSW
President, CounselingPros.com, Kenosis Counseling, Inc.
(c) Copyright 2005 CounselingPros.com, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana USA 46217