Weaving bonds by choice.

Great resources for Stepfamilies

Therapist Uncensored Podcast

TU38: The Blended Family: How to Create Strong and Lasting Step-Family Relationships

Ron Deal: Articles

Blending Families: Co-parenting in the Home

This video will give you five steps that will help you to achieve a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Blended Families: Overview

This video explores some of the issues blended families encounter and some of the tools available to make this transition a successful one. It was made with the purpose educate those families that are experiencing challenges and feel that perhaps thing are not as easy as they thought they would be.

Parents Tell Stepparents What They Really Think

What happens to a family after divorce and remarriage? SoulPancake brings together a blended family and gives them an opportunity to express how they feel about each other.

Laura Petherbridge shares tips for living life as a stepmom.

Tips for the Smart Stepmom

The Five Biggest Mistakes Stepfamilies Make

Ron Deal shares his wisdom

Blending Families: The Priority of Marriage | MarriageToday | Jimmy Evans

In a blended family, a natural re-prioritization has to occur. As a single parent, a child is usually the parent’s top priority. But when that spouse re-marries, the new marriage must come first.

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I love working with blended families because making a few important changes in the family system can have huge rewards for the family. 


Blended families have the same challenges as any other family… and then some. Mom and dad, working together and respectfully supporting one another, always makes for smoother parenting. In blended families however, we sometimes have two or more sets of parents trying to cooperate and “be on the same page”.


Communication and discipline styles, expectations for the children, parenting time, value systems, and lifestyles choices often become points of contention. The scenarios are as diverse and unique as we are as people. Respect and trust are essential if there is to be harmony in the parenting, co-parenting, and step-parenting effort. These two precious commodities, however, are often sorely lacking, as the disappointment and distrust that fueled the divorce(s) often spill over into the new family units.

Parents in blended families need to learn how to express their concerns, both with their new partner and their ex-spouse, in constructive, respectful ways, so as to strengthen trust and cooperation, and avoid more divisiveness. They need to learn how to “choose their battles” and decide whether the emotional fall-out from pursuing a conflict is worth the gains they hope to achieve.


The children of blended families long for security. They need to know that they are loved and wanted by both their parents. The addition of a new step-parent into the family can either facilitate or hinder that quest for security, depending on how clear the new roles have been explained and accepted, and how free the child feels to embrace this new parent figure.


The question of loyalty to the absent parent becomes a major factor.


  • Is it OK to call this new person “mom” or “dad”, or would this be seen as a betrayal by the absent parent?

  • Can the step parent be patient, and trust that time, experience with the children, and support of the children’s biological parent, is a much preferred approach?


It will get them further, faster, in establishing a healthy relationship, than coming on strong, and trying to assert their control of the children.


Couples working to blend a family can often get overwhelmed by the demands of daily life coupled with the strains of unmet expectations and pain from prior relationships. I help build a clear path for healing. We prioritize critical items for your family and work through them, one by one.


I've listed below some typical items on a couple's plan. Most couples would address 5 or 6 of these items while working with me.

  • The Family Background (Family Tree)

  • Communication techniques

  • Identify Fears, Obstacles & "Ghosts" rooted in the Past

  • Crockpot vs Blender

  • Insiders vs Outsiders

  • Creating a Positive Vision/Culture for the Blended Family (New Blueprints)

  • Family Meetings: Why, How & What

  • Boundaries: How they work and how they can backfire 

  • Parental Alienation Syndrome: What you can do about it.

  • Creating "Couple strength".

  • Co-parenting Plans for ex spouses.

  • Creating house rules.

  • Roles, Responsibilities, Rules, Rituals and Money.

  • Managing discipline differences between the couple and/or the exes.

  • Stepmom - the most important and difficult role: classic challenges, boundaries, couple disputes.

  • Different parenting and discipline styles.

  • Relationships between ex-partners and step-parents.

  • Relationship between child and step-parent.

  • Relationship between child and step-siblings.

  • Visitation and parenting plans.

  • Grief and loss after divorce

Let me know which areas are most important to you.


The single most painful and destructive pattern that often arises is when ex-spouses fight with each other, start disparaging the new spouses, and then drag the kids into it.


On occasion, it has been very helpful to get the new spouses and the ex-spouses in the room with me to work through the conflict for the good of the kids. This is almost impossible to do outside of the context of therapy but can be tremendously rewarding. 

Just as it is in the family, trust in the counselor and the counseling process are also essential if growth and change is to happen. I have been able to establish that trust relationship with many blended families, and I look forward to engaging in that effort with you and your’s.



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If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free, 24-hour hotline at 1.800.273.8255.  If your issue is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.  Dr. Motro does not offer crisis counseling or emergency services.

Dr. Harry Motro, Marriage Counselor, is an employee of Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C., (a Professional Corporation), which does business as the Couples Recovery CenterCouples Recovery Center provides specialized couples counseling and includes the following professionals:


Dr. Motro practices at 3880 South Bascom Drive, Suite 111, San Jose, CA,95124, is Licensed as a Marriage Family Therapist MFC 53452 and authorized to act as a Psychotherapist providing Psychotherapy. He specializes in Couples Counseling. In addition to dealing with couples and relationship issues, Dr. Motro is trained to treat anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, bi-polar, ADHD, Asperger's, sex difficulties, anger regulation issues, affair fallout, divorce recovery, self-esteem, addiction, co-dependency, trauma, abuse, eating disorders, and managing grief and loss. These issues often arise in couples counseling and will be dealt with as part of your therapy. If you search for counseling San Jose, marriage counselor San Jose, couples counselor San Jose, psychotherapy San Jose, psychotherapist San Jose, therapist San Jose, counselor San Jose, couples therapist San Jose, couples counselor San Jose, marriage therapy San Jose, life coach San Jose, career coach San Jose, executive coach San Jose, you can find Dr. Harry Motro's web site. In addition to serving San Jose, Harry serves clients in Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen, Milpitas, Mountain View, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Scotts Valley, Felton, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Los Altos, and Gilroy, California. Dr. Motro also provides  Mountain Bike Therapy. The recommendations on this website do not constitute professional advice, substitute for professional treatment, or establish a therapeutic relationship.

Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C.,,, 408 823 2822.

Rosario Puga-Dempsey, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (117320), is supervised by and works for Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C., (License #53452) which is a Professional Corporation. She can be reached at Her email is and her phone # is 408 768 5300.

Dr. Harry Motro © 2009 - 2020. All rights reserved.



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