Mauritius tragedy: How to handle stepparent-child conflict

By admin
14 October 2016

Stress is bound to arise in a newly formed family.

The recent death of Mundolene Vosloo (17) in Mauritius allegedly followed an altercation between the teen and her stepmom, Marietjie.

In the latest issue of YOU – out now – Mundolene’s dad, Mike, says his wife and daughter had “come to blows” before and had a “stormy” relationship.

Read more: Shocking claims in SA teen’s death at luxury Mauritius resort

How do you handle things when there’s conflict between stepparents and stepchildren? We asked an expert.

Stress is bound to arise in a newly formed family, says Jeanne Meiring, an educational psychologist from Brits. “It’s a good option to go for family therapy,” she says.

“The family can discuss their fears or unhappiness and seek workable solutions together, such as what everyone’s expectations are, how discipline should be applied (and by whom), how they’ll communicate, who fulfils which role in the family, and so on.”

Read more: Mundolene’s stepmom still behind bars in Mauritius

Here more tips from Jeanne:

Take the children for counselling if they seem to be suffering emotionally.

If you’re the stepparent, accept that the biological parent-child relationship is well-established and you could feel like an outsider. Allow the child to determine the nature of the relationship and the rate at which it develops.

Stepparents shouldn’t try to take the place of a biological parent. Take into account that a child’s emotional outbursts or unpleasant behaviour is as a result of them being unhappy or bewildered and that their actions could be way of working through their pain. Be patient and as sympathetic as possible.

Stepparents should let the child know they are there for them if they want to talk about their feelings yet they have no intention of replacing their biological parent. Make them understand everyone wants things to work out for the best.

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