WPP 012: Diane Ingram Fromme on stepparenting grieving children

Grief has a way of seeping from the inside out in the most unexpected ways. Being prepared and open to field unexpected situations, with keeping in mind honoring the deceased parent in that whole picture, is probably one of the most important things that you can bring to the relationship. I believe that remaining open to ways to help a child navigate their grief process is going to be one of the keys to deepening that relationship, which then unlocks the door to so many other wonderful things.
— Diane Ingram Fromme, author of Stepparenting the Grieving Child

I learned so much from talking with Diane Ingram Fromme for this episode. Diane is the author of “Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent.” She married a widower with kids, thus becoming a step mom to two young kids who were grieving the loss of their mom. She entered this role full of optimism, and found it much harder than she expected. She couldn’t find any books on stepparenting grieving kids so she did extensive research and decided to write that book herself.

Some of the topics we discussed include:

  • If the stepparent isn’t ‘replacing’ the deceased parent, what then is their role with the kids;

  • The importance of the stepparent helping the kids honor and remember their deceased parent;

  • On still being in the “get to know you” phase after several years;

  • The stepfamily cycle;

  • Common stepfamily myths;

  • The importance of maintaining relationships with the family of the deceased parent; and

  • Tips for preparing to marry into a widowed family.

If you’re a widow who has remarried, or someone who has married into or is considering marrying into a widowed family, I highly recommend reading Diane’s book. I think you’ll find lots of advice and perspective that will help as you embark on this new phase of your family’s life.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Diane Ingram Fromme.

Links & resources for this episode


Facebook group: Stepparenting the Grieving Child

Stepparenting the Grieving Child: Cultivating Past and Present Connections with Children Who Have Lost a Parent, by Diane Ingram Fromme

National Alliance of Grieving Children

Dr. Patricia Papernow’s stepfamily cycle

Family Life Blended with Ron Deal

The Stepmom Project

UK Resources: Happy Steps and Being a Step Parent

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