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Step-Parent Involvement: Deciding Your Role in Your Stepchild’s Life

Step Parent Involvement

As a step-parent, you stand at the crossroads, contemplating the depth of your involvement in your stepchild’s life. Should you be invested in their development, education, healthcare, and other major aspects? How do you strike the right balance between being present and respecting boundaries? Blended families offer a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and finding your own path can sometimes be a little overwhelming. But fear not! In this article, we’ll explore key considerations and provide guidance to help you make informed decisions that work best for you and your stepchild.

Understanding Your Step Parent Role:

First things first, take a moment to reflect on the role you want to play in your stepchild’s life. Are you more comfortable taking on a nurturing role, providing emotional support and guidance? Or do you prefer to be a supportive figure, offering assistance when needed? If there’s anything this article aims to do, it should be to convey the message that there is no right or wrong answer here, as every step-parent’s journey is different. All you have to do is embrace the unique qualities you bring to the table and align them with the needs of your stepchild.

Consider the Family Dynamics:

Blended families are like beautiful kaleidoscopes, with each one having its own set of dynamics. Take time to understand and respect these dynamics. Get to know the family members, their relationships, and the existing roles. This will help you tailor your own involvement in a way that complements the family’s existing structure, promoting harmony and understanding. Let it flow rather than try to follow “rules” someone else might have set up for you.


Assessing the Child’s Needs:

Before deciding on your level and depth of involvement, you may also want to consider your stepchild’s needs. Observe their behaviours, emotions, and communication to gain insights into their unique requirements. Some children may thrive with more active involvement, while others may need space to adjust and form bonds at their own pace. By understanding their needs, you can tailor your involvement to provide the right level of support and care.

Open Communication with Your Partner:

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, including the one with your partner—the biological parent of your stepchild. Have honest and open conversations about expectations, boundaries, and the role you envision for yourself. This will ensure that you’re on the same page and can approach step-parenting as a unified team. Deciding how involved you want to be can be as simple as having a conversation (or a few) about it.

Respecting Boundaries and Parental Authority:

Establishing boundaries is vital for the healthy functioning of any family unit. When working together to define what is comfortable and appropriate for everyone involved, remember to respect the boundaries set by the biological parent. Remember, you’re there to support and enhance the child’s life, not to replace the biological parent. You can’t go wrong if you simply do whatever you can to recognize and honour the parental authority while finding ways to contribute positively to your stepchild’s growth.

Building Trust and Connection:

Trust and connection are the pillars of a strong step-parent and stepchild relationship. Instead of wondering how involved you want to be with major decisions in their life, why not take the time to foster a bond with your stepchild? You can do this by engaging in activities they enjoy, show genuine interest in their hobbies and passions, and just by being a supportive presence in their life. Building trust can take time, so it’s important to be patient, don’t expect overnight results and allow the relationship to evolve naturally.

Finding Your Balance:

The beauty of it all is that there is no one answer to this question. As a step-parent, you have the autonomy to determine the level of involvement that feels right for you (as well as for the child and his/her biological parent). Some step-parents choose to be heavily invested in their stepchild’s life, actively participating in major aspects such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Others may opt for a more supportive role, offering guidance and support when needed. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s okay to adjust your involvement as the family dynamics evolve.


Trust Your Instincts:

While guidance is helpful, ultimately, you would probably do well to simply trust your instincts as you navigate step-parenting. You know yourself and your family better than anyone else, so don’t forget to listen to your intuition, and let it guide you in making decisions about your level of involvement. There really is no perfect roadmap, and every step-parenting journey is unique. The best thing to do is to learn to trust yourself to find the right balance for you and your stepchild.


In the intricate world of step-parenting, deciding how involved and invested you should be in your stepchild’s life is a personal journey. By considering factors such as your desired role, family dynamics, the child’s needs, open communication, and trust, you can navigate this path with confidence. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to be a step-parent. Find the balance that aligns with your values, respects boundaries, and nurtures the bond with your stepchild. Embrace the beautiful opportunity to make a positive impact on their life and cherish the unique connection you share.

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Reasons Why You’re Struggling as a Stepmom and Ways to Do Better

Struggling as a Stepmom

The evil stepmother trope is much too common in the world of fiction. Unfortunately, it has shaped the way we perceive the role of being a stepmom in real life too. This, however, is far from being the truth.

Being a stepmom is one of the most selfless roles a woman can take up. She decides to nurture kids that she didn’t give birth to and raises them as her own. This is not an easy task, especially when you’re new to a family and the burden of living up to everyone’s expectations weighs down on your shoulders. The smallest mistakes could make you feel you’re failing or struggling as a stepmom, even if that might very well not be the case. There’s seldom any tangible support for stepmoms, the lack of which may have adverse effects on the familial relationships that she worked so hard to build.

If you’re a stepmom, then you’re the stepmom every single day. There are no breaks. It’s not easy, instead, being a struggling as a stepmom is hard and comes with its fair share of daily struggles that many stepmothers deal with. These are some of the most common struggles associated with being a stepmom:


The unavoidable truth of being a stepmom is that you are not the ‘real’ mom. You might do everything from cooking to helping with homework, just as a real mom does, but it doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t give birth to those children. This is a bitter pill to swallow and it leaves one thinking that they’re a replacement. You constantly feel left out and all of your actions seem to be aimed at making up for being an outsider.


Every stepmother has to deal with the negative image that they are usually painted in. You’re expected to work selflessly for the children, like a real mother. But, if you assign some chores to the kid or are disappointed in their academic performance (like a real mother), then you’re the evil stepmom. Any form of complaining regarding the kids’ behavior is off-the-stepmom’s-limits. Walking the very fine line of what ‘mom behavior’ is acceptable and what isn’t, is a stepmom struggle in itself.


If the kids are old enough to know their biological mother then there’s the chance that they wouldn’t resent you for taking their mother’s place’. It’s very hard building a relationship with children who have no interest in reciprocating your feelings. It’s even harder when those kids go out of their way to tell you that you can never be their real mother. In the end, all your attempts seem futile and doubts about whether this is worth it start seeping into the conscience.


Settling into a new environment is a challenge in itself. When the new role comes with major responsibilities of its own, the challenge is multiplex and requires you to surpass your own limits. Every family is different and every new stepmom has to try to adapt to the family’s unique pace. Normally, a woman would herself set the environment for her family, but when she’s new to the scene – she is the one who has to settle. Many blended families struggle with settling in with each other and this usually leads to drama and friction in the family dynamic.


Stepmoms have to deal with their own emotions and insecurity in addition to balancing their new family-lives. The experience is a roller-coaster of positive and negative feelings and this might knock askew a stepmom’s own emotional balance. Making sure that everyone in the home is happy while keeping a check on your emotions is a struggle that many stepmothers have to overcome. They also have to bear the insecurity of thinking of themselves as a temporary fix instead of being a permanent member of the family.


To make up for the fact that a stepmother is not the biological mother, stepmoms usually end up over compensating for something that isn’t in their control. They feel responsible for their stepchildren but doing more than one is capable of takes a toll on the stepmom’s emotional well-being. Over compensatory behavior might also feel forced and fake to the step kids, and can actually end up causing a rift between the two.

A number of stepmoms realize that they’re giving more than is required but don’t know how to stop this cycle.

Help for stepmoms doesn’t come in a tiny rule book that describes all the roles you have to take up and all the lines that can’t be crossed. It would make the situation so much clearer but every familial situation is different. Realizing that you want to know how to be a better stepmom is the first leap towards actually becoming a better Struggling as a stepmom.

The second leap is to recognize and understand the reasons why you feel like you’re struggling as a Stepmom.


  • Many stepmoms feel pressured into or responsible for taking the place of a biological mother in the stepchild’s life.
  • A majority of stepmoms are new to motherhood and are suddenly bombarded with motherly duties.
  • The change in environment is a huge contributing factor to a stepmother’s struggles and not being able to settle into this daily life adds to the struggle.
  • Feelings of jealousy and resentment from both the stepmoms and children towards each other are common and these emotions keep them from forming a genuine bond.
  • Stepmoms are expected to act like a mother and do everything a mother does. They might be treated cordially by their stepchildren, but they’re not treated like mothers at the end of the day.

Here’s how a struggling as a Stepmom can do better:


Stepmoms are superheroes and this is no exaggeration.

You have to start looking at yourself in a new light- as someone courageous enough to love and raise kids you didn’t birth. The act itself, of choosing to become a stepmom, is worthy of appreciation and you deserve a pat on the back for it. You have to first humanize yourself- to realize you’re a human before being a stepmom and it’s completely acceptable to make mistakes. When you start seeing your own worth as a stepmom, your step kids will follow suit.


This is one of the hardest hurdles to cross for a second wife, who is also a stepmother.

When you’re new to a family, you’ll be the second most important priority after the kids… and that’s okay. You have to understand that this is not a competition and with time you will also be prioritized as an invaluable part of the family. Children always come first but that does not reflect on your worth in any way.


Stepmoms feel the constant pressure that no matter how hard they try they can never be enough because they aren’t the real mothers.

Once you realize that your role in your step children’s life is not to replace but to make your own little place in their hearts, it’ll be easy sailing. Their biological mother and you are your own persons, you’re both different, your roles vary and that is the beauty of it.




Every stepmom’s journey is unique and there are some good days and some bad. There are also struggles.

The real fun begins when you stop worrying about the nitty gritty of fitting perfectly into this assigned role and just go with the flow. Don’t worry about what your child thinks of you, cherish the little moments, and they’ll feel your sincerity.


Taking the time to sit and bare your feelings in front of your partner and step children goes a long way in building an honest bond.

Kids might be young, but they’re very intuitive, they sense that you’re being honest, and they’ll be honest in return.


There are a number of expectations a stepmother might have of her family members. Expectations from her step children- about how she expects them to do their personal chores and behave around the house. Expectations from her partner of being treated as an equal, with respect, love and loyalty.

Managing these expectations would mean practicing patience with your step children. If they aren’t doing the expected chore or breaking a rule you set, remind yourself that they are only children. For your partner, managing an expectation would translate to appreciating the little things that they do. When you manage your expectations of your family, they too are in turn more mindful of managing their expectations and appreciating you.

Struggling as a Stepmom struggles are real- from entering into a new family to adopting another woman’s kids, it is a never ending wave of responsibilities. It might seem difficult, but all is not lost. When stepmoms start taking it easy and not getting hung up on minor details, the family you acquire becomes more than worth all the work.

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How to Stop Struggling as a Bio-Mom in a Blended Family


Raising a traditional family is complicated enough on its own, and things can become even more complicated in the case of blended families. Blended families refer to families that have step-parents and/or step-siblings. As a bio-mom, managing everything in a blended family can be quite a struggle. There are several different challenges that’ll present themselves. Most women are left scratching their heads with the level of struggle that they encounter.

However, don’t worry, bio-mom, cause you’re not alone. Blended families are becoming an increasingly common occurrence, and the support groups for bio-moms are growing. While it is a struggle, it’s possible to make your life much easier as the bio-mom. We’re here to help guide you through the variety of issues you might face and reduce your struggle as a bio-mom in a blended family. Keep reading to find out more about how you can make your life easier.

The Challenges of a Bio-Mom

Before we got into how we can ease the bio-mom struggle, it’s important to look at the kinds of issues they might face. Without looking at the numerous issues in-depth, it’s quite difficult to provide solutions. So, here are some of the challenges that a bio-mom might face.

New Kids

As a parent, your natural instinct is to protect your children as much as possible. That’s where a conflict of interest might arise when the bio-mom remarries someone who has kids of their own. While it’s possible for the kids to get along, it’s common that it becomes an issue as well.

Children that become a part of a blended family have a lot going on. Sometimes it can be difficult for the bio-mom to settle in with the step-kids. It’s unfair to expect any child to be completely okay with the situation right away; it takes some time. However, even if the bio-mom struggles to connect with the kids after a significant period, it can indicate a greater issue.

If the children don’t get along with one another, it can make things even more difficult. It’s natural human instinct to put your kids first, which could lead to potentially unpleasant situations with the step-kids. If the new step-kids are acting out, it can be difficult for the bio-mom and her kids. Nothing matters more than the safety and well-being of your children.

The Stepdad

Suppose the bio-mom decides to remarry and has custody of the kids. In that case, a new challenge might be their relationship with the stepdad. It can take time for kids to warm up to their new stepdad, but things can get significantly more difficult for the bio-mom if there’s conflict.

In an argument between the kids and the stepdad, the bio-mom will feel compelled to side with her kids and offer them support. This can easily lead to arguments with the new partner and can even impact the relationship.

It’s important to discuss everything you’d expect from the partner as a stepdad and have an open discussion with the kids as well.

The other bio-mom

The challenges bio-mom faces aren’t just limited to the kids and the husband. On the other side of the fence is another bio-mom, which can become especially challenging if you don’t have a functional relationship with her.

Co-parenting is hard enough as it is, but co-parenting along with an ex-partner, makes things even more challenging. We’ve all seen those movies and dramas where the ex does everything she can to make the new woman’s life miserable. If you find yourself in one of those situations, it can be incredibly challenging.

A threatened bio-mom will rub off her attitude onto the kids as well. That can make developing a loving relationship with the new kids even more difficult.

There are so many challenges that bio-moms have to face; it can be incredibly stressful thinking about them. Now that we’ve discussed some of the challenges they encounter, we can discuss potential solutions. By implementing these solutions, you can effectively stop struggling as a bio-mom in a blended family.

How to stop your struggles and succeed in a blended family

While it might be difficult, it isn’t impossible to address the numerous challenges. Even if the situation seems dire, anything is possible with a little bit of compassion and effort. Here’s how bio moms can stop their struggles and succeed in a blended family.

Get the parenting in order

As a bio-mom starting a blended family, it’s important to understand that it can take between two to five years for a blended family to establish its dynamics. Naturally, things are going to be bumpy at the start. However, you can take a step forward and try to get to the top of things as soon as possible.

Our kids tend to be the most important parts of our lives, so you must sit down with your partner and define your expectations from each other as parents. Your partner may not be inclined towards disciplining their kids in the same style as you, and it’s important to hash out these differences and set expectations with each other.

Tell your partner how you want your kids to be treated and what role he needs to play. While it can be difficult to get everything going smoothly from the start, it’s important to have this discussion so you can help the family dynamics develop in a healthy manner.

Bonding together

Once the parenting side of things is in order, it’s a completely new task to bond together as a blended family. It takes time for stepfamilies to bond together and figure out the new dynamics of their household. The task is made more difficult when you take into consideration visitation and custody agreements.

As a bio-mom, it’s easy to take all the responsibility of the household on yourself. You can easily fall into this trap of blaming yourself for not being able to connect with the step-kids. In your attempts to improve your bond with step-kids, you might risk your own kids thinking you’re ignoring them!

It’s important to remember that you’re not going to get anywhere by forcing things. Something as simple as reading stories together at night or taking trips to the playground can help blended families bond effectively. It’s also important to develop return rituals because the kids might be spending a lot of time at different houses. By establishing these new rituals, you can show the step-kids that you’re not just someone that lives in the house; you’re their parent as well!

Above all, what’s important to remember is that the relationship between the adult partners matters the most in a blended family. Make sure that you connect with your partner as much as possible. That’ll give your kids more incentive to bond and spend time with their new step-parent. The stronger the relationship between the two adult partners, the easier it is to bond together as a family.

As a bio-mom, discuss all family matters with your partner. It’s a good idea to decide on some time in advance to discuss family issues. At every meeting, don’t start with an avalanche of issues. Take it one or two at a time. Also, after every meeting, set aside time where you and your partner can appreciate one another and bond.

Dealing with the past

A bio-mom in a blended family has to deal with a lot of stress because of the past. Whether it be your ex or your partner’s ex, things can quickly become a struggle if you’re not careful. In an ideal world, every household that kids visit would have the same rules and values as yours. However, that’s not the case, but there isn’t much that you can do about this.

Instead of embracing the conflict, you must try to harmonize with your ex or your partner’s ex. Communication is the most important tool, and in a way, all of you come together to form one big team. That’s why it’s important to learn to communicate as a team. Not only will you set a great example for your biological kids, but your step-kids will also bond with you more readily if you can have a harmonious relationship with previous exes.

Try to always be available to co-parents when they’re looking to call. That doesn’t mean drop everything and attend to them the minute they call, but keep your communication lines open. By finding peace in your relationships outside your house, you give yourself a greater chance of living in harmony with your blended family.


Being a bio-mom in a blended family can be a struggle. Having to juggle your previous relationship, new relationship, biological kids, and step kids is enough to overwhelm anyone. However, with the right amount of effort and communication, your struggles as a bio-mom will become a thing of the past. It might seem like tedious amounts of scheduling and communication. Still, it’ll all be worth it when your family life runs smoothly, and your struggles as bio-mom are over!

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Blended Families: Navigating Challenges and Celebrating Love

Blended Family

In today’s world, families come in all shapes and sizes. Blended families, in particular, have become more common than ever before. Whether formed through remarriage or the blending of families for the first time, they offer a unique set of joys and challenges for all involved. While they can be tough to navigate, blended families also offer the opportunity to create a loving and supportive environment for all members. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of blended families, the challenges faced by parents and children, and strategies for creating a successful and happy blended family.


Advantages of Blended Families

Blended families come with their own set of benefits, including:

  • More role models for children to emulate
  • Financial stability with multiple sources of income
  • Higher levels of happiness for parents who have remarried
  • Opportunities for children to learn to adapt to change


Disadvantages of Blended Families

Despite the advantages, blended families can also present challenges, such as:

  • Potential sibling rivalries
  • Mixed feelings towards step-parents
  • Financial difficulties
  • Differences in parenting styles


Challenges for Parents in a Blended Family

Blending two families together can be a difficult process. Parents may face the following challenges:

  • Accepting Your Role as a New Parent: Trying to balance parenting and bonding with stepchildren can be a source of stress.
  • Parental Insecurities: As a step-parent, you may feel anxious about how the children compare you to their natural parent.
  • Relationship with Ex-Partners and Step-Parents: The relationship with ex-partners and step-parents can be challenging to navigate, particularly if children wish to keep in touch with their biological parent.

Challenges for Children in a Blended Family

  • Children can experience several challenges in blended families, including:
  • Difficulties in Accepting the New Parent: Children may take more time to accept the new parent.
  • Changes in Family Traditions: The new parent may have different ideas on how to celebrate events like birthdays, vacations, or holidays, which may affect children who are not used to the routine.
  • Changes in Family Relationships: Children may find themselves in new positions within the family, which can be challenging.


Strengthening a Blended Family

Blended families can thrive when parents are committed to making them work. Some strategies for making a blended family work include:

  • Having a plan for the family
  • Acknowledging and coping with challenges
  • Open communication with your partner
  • Developing a personal relationship with all children in the family



Blended families can be challenging, but they also offer the opportunity to create a loving and supportive environment for all members. If you have experience with blended families, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below. What challenges have you faced? How have you overcome them? By sharing your experiences, you can help others who are navigating the complexities of a blended family. Together, we can build a community of support and resources for blended families around the world.

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When Your Partner & Your Child Don’t Get Along

Daughter upset with mother 02 scaled e1639828249300

It’s not easy when your partner and your child don’t get along, and it can have a real impact on your own relationships. You might feel angry or disappointed in your partner for not being able to get along with your child. You might feel frustrated with your child for rejecting your partner’s attempts to get along.

What to do when your partner and your child can’t get along

Do they not get along, or does your partner just not love your child as much as you do? It is completely natural for you to desire that your partner will love your child in the same way you do. However, we need to consider the fact that this bond may not be possible to achieve.  You have seen them grow, watched them laugh, watched them achieve various milestones, and celebrated each one of them. You’ve read books together, taken trips together, were there on their first day of school. Your partner cannot expect (or be expected to) develop this kind of bond overnight.  You could argue that a stepparent and stepchild’s relationship has a distinct attribute to it; that love is ultimately a decision. They have to choose to love each other.

But they REALLY don’t get along

Your child might still be missing not only their own parent (who is now living separately from you) but also missing all of you being together as a family unit. As long as they’re still processing this, and grieving the loss of this family unit, they will likely display some unwillingness to bond with your new partner. Grief doesn’t just happen when someone passes on—grief happens with any kind of loss.  Let your child grieve this loss before you expect them to fully embrace their new family situation.

Your partner may need support finding ways to connect with your child. If they don’t have children of their own, the relentlessness of parenting will probably take them by surprise. They may need more guidance from you than either of you anticipated; this is ok. It’s better that you take the lead here than leave them feeling unsure of how to proceed.  You should absolutely discuss what their role is as a parental figure, including how you approach matters like discipline.

It’s not like it is on TV

Has the media ingrained false images of what a stepfamily should be like? No doubt about it! The Brady Bunch seems to have stepfamily life all worked out. Jake and Josh, Modern Family, and other shows make it seem like stepfamily life only has beautiful sides and no ugly ones. The truth is, real life looks a little different from what’s on TV. Being a stepfamily can be complicated and it can be messy. So don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been trying to live up to TV standards.  We’re here to tell you it’s OK for your blended family to be imperfect. Hang in there – you got this!

Think about how your partner and your child feel

It can be upsetting for your partner if they feel like they’ve been working hard to develop a relationship and your child keeps rejecting them. Jealousy can arise when they observe the time and love that you give to your child, and the way your child responds to you. They may just now realize that they will probably always come second in your eyes.  These feelings are valid and allowed! Your partner might even not like your children sometimes, and this is ok. It may not be ideal, but it’s not unusual. It might give you less stress to understand that it’s OK to have both positive and negative feelings between stepparents and stepchildren. What’s important is that your partner and children are treating each other with respect.

Accepting your partner and your child may never love each other

And what if even with time and work, love never develops between your child and your partner? Maybe they end up just caring for each other, with mutual respect. What if you let go of all expectations for love and deep-rooted bonds to develop? Aiming for mutual care & respect can lift a weight from everyone’s shoulders and lead to a more harmonious life. And of course, love may still develop in time.

Things you can try (but don’t force anything!)

  • Look for natural opportunities to do family activities together.
  • When you create opportunities for bonding, do it without expectation. Trying something new that none of you have done before can be a great way for this to happen.
  • Throw out some ideas and allow them to land naturally. Forced interactions will only lead to more tension and unwillingness.
  • Make sure both parties feel like they’re important to you by spending quality one-on-one time.
  • Keep talking to both parties about how they’re feeling, and make sure you step in before resentment or disrespect becomes an issue.
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Welcoming a New Baby Into Your Blended Family

Family of 4 06 with new baby scaled

Bringing a new baby into a blended family is exciting, but it can also be a little anxiety-inducing. It can be tough for the kids to understand the new dynamic. They may have struggled with creating your blended family in the first place; accepting a new stepparent, maybe a new house, and possibly new stepsiblings. Now there’s a new baby in the mix. You may also receive unwelcome input from family members, your ex, your partner’s ex, or other ‘well-meaning’ outsiders.

The important thing is to celebrate the news of a new baby, while doing your best to prepare your blended family for the changes that are coming. Here is some advice to guide you (plus a story from a mom who’s been there!).

How do the kids feel about a new baby joining the blended family?

You and your partner are probably over the moon about this news, but more likely than not, it’s tempered by concern over how the kids might react. If they’re young, they might be quite excited at the idea of a baby, since they don’t have the ability to anticipate how life will change once the baby arrives. Older children will quickly come to understand how this might impact them and therefore may not be very excited.

How might they react? On one hand, a new baby can feel like an anchoring point for the family. After all, he or she will be the first member of the family who is biologically related to everybody. This can give your kids a sense of togetherness that the family may have been missing before.

On the other hand,  children may feel threatened at the idea of welcoming a new baby. The fact that this baby will have both its biological parents in the same house may cause jealousy or resentment.  Common concerns for kids include the fear of losing your attention, as well as the possibility that you could love the baby more than them, or that the baby will be more part of the family than they are.  A new baby can heighten the feeling that while the blended family kids are ‘yours’ and ‘mine’, the new baby is ‘ours’.

It can be hard to hear that your children have thoughts like this, but  it’s important to talk to them so you can help them process any negative feelings about the new baby in your blended family.

How to prepare stepchildren for a new baby in a blended family

Before the baby comes:

You might feel like you want to delay the news as long as possible, in order to avoid uncomfortable situations.  But the earlier you talk about this as a family, the more time you have to process it together. It’s a good idea to speak to your children about the possibility of a new sibling if you decide to try for a baby.  Bringing it up early and speaking of it in a positive light can help give them time to get used to the idea and create positive associations.  That way if you and your partner do fall pregnant, they’ve already had the opportunity to process the idea and it doesn’t come as a shock.

If you and your partner are already expecting and haven’t had the chance to speak to your kids about the possibility of a new sibling, that’s okay. You’re not too late.  As a general rule, the more time they have to process, the better. So start NOW!

It can be a great idea to include your child in planning and preparations for the new baby. This can be everything from buying new baby clothes, picking colours for the nursery, aww-ing over ultrasound images, feeling the baby kick, and brainstorming baby names. Make sure that they feel included and like they are part of the new baby excitement, rather than just witnessing it from outside.

This can also be a great time to make your children feel special. Buying them a new toy, making them their favorite meal for dinner, or dedicating some special time to bond as a family can make a big difference. Talk about how much you love them, and how much their new sibling will love them too. It’s important that they feel your love so they don’t worry you will have less of it for them once the new baby comes.

If your children are experiencing anxiety or fear about what’s to come, glossing over it or pushing it aside is never a good idea. Instead, talk openly about their worries and make sure they feel validated and heard. These feelings are completely legitimate and they need to have the space to feel them. Your job is to create a safe environment for your children to feel and express their emotions and to address them as they come up. Listening – and some comforting words and hugs – can be incredibly healing.

After the baby comes

Once the new baby arrives, it’s only natural that a huge chunk of the parents’ time, attention, and energy will go toward caring for him or her. This means that you need to be extra careful that your older children don’t feel neglected. Doing your best to keep their routines as consistent as possible will help to minimize their feelings of disruption.

This is the perfect opportunity for your children or stepchildren to learn about being a good big brother or sister. No matter their age, you can let them hold and kiss the baby, learning how to be gentle with him or her. And if your kids are a bit older, get them to help out with things. Younger kids love to feel useful, so give them jobs like fetching diapers, finding a toy, or passing you things if you have a sleeping baby on you. Older kids can push the stroller, give a bottle, or read to the baby.

After the arrival of the new baby, try to continue having one on one time with your other children. Things as simple as going on a walk or watching a movie together can ensure they feel that they can still count on your love and attention. This can also be a good time to check in with your child about how they’re feeling and see if they need any reassurance. Remember,all feelings are valid!

Don’t overthink it!

We just gave you a whole lot to think about so this may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true! It’s an exciting time, and having a new baby entails enough logistics, so don’t overthink the other stuff. Prepare the kids, but don’t waste time worrying about what ‘might’ happen when the baby arrives. Don’t dampen your excitement because you’re worried about upsetting other people. You and your partner are allowed to celebrate this, and if you try to mute it you may end up feeling resentful.

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Integrating families Living together

Blended Family Problems: When Your Blended Family Won’t Blend

blended family problems family white fence

Blended families are common but that doesn’t make them easy; so what do you do when your blended family problems seem insurmountable?! Despite all our hard work and good intentions, sometimes two families just don’t mix together well. If you find yourself in such a situation, it may feel a little scary and daunting. How can you make everybody get along and, well… blend together smoothly?

The good news is that this situation is not unusual or impossible to solve. If you know what red flags to look out for, you can identify what to work on in order to resolve the problems that are standing in the way of allowing your blended family to thrive. Here are some tips from parents who’ve been there…

Signs of blended family problems

The first step to improving your blended family problems is to identify if things aren’t blending well. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • When stepsiblings don’t get along
    Sibling rivalry is standard in all families, but it can get especially problematic in blended families when brothers and sisters don’t have the bond of a lifelong relationship to help them set aside their differences.
  • When jealousy rears its head
    There are many ways jealousy can manifest in a blended family. Maybe your children are jealous of your new partner, feeling that they are taking your attention away from them. Maybe there is jealousy between the stepsiblings. Heck, you may even feel jealous of the blood bond between your partner and their children that you don’t have with your stepkids.
  • When parenting styles don’t mix
    There are so many different approaches to parenting and the one you have may not automatically go hand-in-hand with that of your partner. Your blended family may experience some hiccups and confusion if your parenting styles are at odds.
  • When new behavioural problems appear
    If your children suddenly show signs of behavioral problems like defiance or aggression that weren’t there before, it may be related to the growing pains of a blended family.
  • When there is an obvious split in the household
    The goal of a blended family is to blend. If you find that everybody keeps to “their” side of the family, it’s most likely an issue.

Red flags for blended families

All of the problems listed above are on the general side, so here are some specific examples of red flag scenarios that may point to a need to work on the “blending” part of your blended family.

  • Your stepchildren don’t listen to you or respect your authority, or the same is the case for your biological children and their stepparent.
  • Family gatherings and meals are tense and uncomfortable.
  • Stepsiblings don’t speak to one another.
  • Siblings gang up on and exclude their step-sibling(s).
  • You and your partner can’t agree on rules for the household.
  • Your step-children only ask their biological parent for permission and help and don’t come to you – or vice versa with your partner.
  • Your blended family has a hard time agreeing upon things such as what activity to do, what places to go to, and so on.

Naturally, there are many more red flags that can be cause for concern, but these examples should help you get a sense of what to watch out for.

Resolving Blended Family Problems

If you’re reading this and finding yourself nodding along to some of the problems and red flags listed above, you don’t have to panic. Your blended family may not be in its ideal place right now, but there are solutions to every problem. Here are some steps you can take to address the issues you may have mixing your families.

Show a united front

Children will follow their parent’s example and if you and your partner aren’t completely unified, chances are the kids will also feel comfortable acting like they’re not a solid family unit. Make sure that you and your partner put in the effort to stay consistent and act together. Don’t contradict each other’s rules or negate each other’s parenting styles. It may take a lot of long, even difficult, conversations to get on the same page about the rules and standards you want to put in place for your household. This is an effort that is not only worth making but is absolutely critical to make in order to allow your blended family to truly blend.

Respect the old

Transitioning to a blended family can be threatening for children who may fear the loss of a previous lifestyle that they were attached to. Your kids might miss how things used to be, leading to a rejection of the new. Make sure that you don’t try to pretend the past never happened. Respect the traditions that you had before. Sure, some things will have to change, but that doesn’t have to mean letting go of everything your kids loved about your family’s previous iteration. Letting them hold on to some traditions can be a great comfort.

Build the new

That being said, building new family traditions can be incredibly exciting! Finding common ground between what both sides of the family like can be a fun process that leads to exciting revelations. Maybe you’ll start doing taco night every Tuesday or playing soccer together on the weekends. The future is full of possibilities for your blended family, so why not enjoy the process of discovering what your new traditions and customs will be? Let your kids take an active part and even lead the way forward so they feel invested in and excited by their family’s future instead of alienated by it.

Take your time

Of course, change takes time. Getting used to the new isn’t easy for anybody, especially not kids who haven’t experienced too many major life changes. It’s okay if things take a while and there are some bumps in the road. Respect and validate your children’s feelings. Try to talk things out openly instead of sweeping them under the rug. You’re all in this together, and the process may be slow-going. That’s perfectly fine.

Ask for help

Sometimes family problems go beyond what you can handle on your own, and that is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re at a loss and none of what you are trying seems to help, it’s a fantastic idea to reach out and seek professional help. Family counselors and therapists are trained to help you overcome difficult issues. Even just one or two meetings with a counselor might make you feel much better.

Alls well that ends well

It’s no secret that getting a blended family to cooperate and get along can be challenging. If that’s your experience, you aren’t alone. Many blended families experience problems like a lack of harmony or even jealousy, bullying, and defiance. But if you know what signs to look out for and approach your issues with patience, candor, and good intentions, you’ll be able to get through this.

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50 Blended Family Quotes That Will Make You Feel Seen

50 blended family quotes

Whether you’re a stepparent growing to love your stepchildren, a child accepting a new parental figure, or a bio-parent welcoming a new partner into their family, your version of a blended family is unique and beautiful. Here are some of our favorite blended family quotes to honor this amazing (sometimes maddening) journey.

Read more: 10 TV Shows About Blended Families

Blended family quotes for every type of blended family…

    1. Families don’t have to match. You don’t have to look like someone else to love them. Leigh Anne Tuohy
    2. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other. Richard Bach
    3. The secret to blending families is… There is no secret. It’s scary and awesome and ragged and perfect and always changing. Love and laugh hard; try again tomorrow. Mir Kamin
    4. Sometimes families are created in different ways but are still in every way a family. Unknown
    5. You’re facing one of the most important challenges of your life. Yet, being a member of a blended family can be an exciting adventure for all concerned. Kathie M. Thompson
    6. We aren’t “step”, we aren’t “half”, we’re just a family. Unknown
    7. Family means putting your arms around each other and being there. Barbara Bush
    8. The blended family isn’t just an ordinary family times two. It’s a special kind of family with special needs. Maxine Marsolin
    9. Children can never have too many positive adult role models in their lives. Unknown
    10. Co-parenting is not a competition. It’s a collaboration of two homes working together with the best interest of the child at heart. Work for your kids, not against them. Unknown
    11. There is nothing so rewarding as bringing two families together and making it work. Unknown
    12. Anything is possible when you have the right people to support you. Misty Copeland
    13. Family is not defined by our genes, it is built and maintained through love. Unknown
    14. The last names may not match, but the hearts certainly do. Unknown
    15. Blended families: woven together by choice, strengthened together by love, tested by everything, and each uniquely ours. Unknown
    16. Thank you for blessing me with a great family, not a perfect one, but a great one. Unknown
    17. Blood makes you related; love makes you family. Unknown
    18. We had grown into one another somewhere along the way. We were officially a team. Shannon A. Thompson
    19. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Richard Bach
    20. Being happy in your family is more important than being perfect. Unknown
    21. All families are different and unique, but they all have one thing in common—love. Unknown
    22. Bringing two families together is never easy. But in the end, it’s more than worth it. Unknown
    23. Blended families are beautiful. Every member has their own color, but it’s only when you bring them together that you can see the rainbow. Unknown
    24. Every family has a story to tell—blended families just have more chapters. Unknown
    25. Family isn’t defined only by last names or by blood; it’s defined by commitment and by love. Dave Willis
    26. Sticking with your family is what makes it a family. Mitch Albom
    27. Being part of a blended family means you’re part of something very wonderful. Unknown
    28. No family is perfect… We argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times. But in the end, your family is your family. The love will always be there. Unknown
    29. It doesn’t matter how big or small your family is; it matters how much love you’re willing to put into it. Unknown
    30. Bright families are just like bright colors: When you blend two, you get something beautiful! Unknown
    31. There will always be steps you can take toward unity in your blended family. You will make—one step at a time! Donna Houpe
    32. Blended families are a beautiful mix of diverse people who each serve an important role in our lives. At times, it can be challenging to appreciate everyone’s unique beauty. Deana Keller La Rosa
    33. Family means hugging and supporting each other. The word “family” brings to mind a group of people who love, care for, support one another. Unknown
    34. We all have different views on how we should live our lives but nothing comes before your loved ones – they’re always by your side as long as you need them. Unknown
    35. You are not blood; you’re family. As long as we respect and support each other, our bond will never be broken. Unknown
    36. When two families combine, they create a new definition of love. Unknown
    37. Becoming a blended family means mixing, mingling, scrambling, and sometimes muddling our way through delicate family issues, complicated relationships, and individual differences, hurts, and fears. But through it all, we are learning to love like a family. Tom Frydenger
    38. The first key to balancing your busy life and creating a peaceful environment for your blended family to thrive in, lies in defining your family values—first as a couple, then as a family. Kellye Laughery
    39. There is no such thing as a ‘broken family.’ Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, or adoption documents. C JoyBell
    40. Family is family, whether it’s the one you start out with, the one you end up with, or the family you gain along the way. Unknown
    41. Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter. Brad Henry
    42. Behind a lot of great kids is a stepparent who stepped up, stepped in, and gave a sh*t. Unknown
    43. DNA doesn’t make a family—love does. Unknown
    44. Any man can make a child, but it takes a special man to help raise a child. Tony Gaskins
    45. Blood doesn’t always make a parent; being a parent comes from the heart. Unknown
    46. Don’t worry if you’re not an instant, happily-ever-after blended family. Expect to endure ‘I give up’ days and rejoice in the ‘I can do this,’ days. It will take work, dedication, an excellent sense of humor, and strong resolve. But hey, since when has any family taken the easy route? Don’t do ‘easy’—do ‘worth it!’ Jessica James
    47. Remember why you chose to come together in the first place—the love that you have for your partner. Your partner’s children are an extension of them and this makes them just as important to your happiness. Beth Happiness
    48. Live one day at a time (or one moment, if you have to). Blend little by little and celebrate even the smallest breakthrough. Andi Parker-Kimbrough
    49. One of the most important lessons our children have learned from divorces is that some things in life can come to an end, but that’s okay because something new is manifested. In our case, it’s a blended family that has respect, love, trust, authenticity, and a sense of fun. Jennifer Kessler
    50. Being a stepmom means they grew inside of my heart instead of my tummy. Unknown

We hope some of these blended family quotes resonated with you! The adjustment might be hard, especially for the children, but with proactive parents and some work, it’ll all be worth the effort. You’ll soon see that every member of the blended family will become a strong support for each other. And that’s the beauty of being a family.

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Integrating families Living together

What To Do When Your Stepchildren Disrespect You

Have you ever watched a movie about blended families? Most of the time there’s a barrier to overcome, but by the end of the movie everyone understands each other and gets along like a house on fire. Often these movies are comedies, which make everything look even more lighthearted and fun. If your stepchildren are disrespectful these movies may have you wondering why you don’t have the same relationship with your stepkids. Maybe instead of being precocious and sassy like the kids in the movies, they behave as though they don’t like you, or even disrespect you. But let’s be clear, these storylines are not the reality of most families.

Adjusting to a new family takes time and effort, both for the stepparent and the stepchildren. If you want to improve the relationship between yourself and your stepkids (or your partner and your kids) don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to inject some blended family comedy goodness into your home life.

If your stepchildren are disrespecting you

Disrespect in a family is not acceptable, blended or otherwise. No one can or should be forced into a relationship they’re not ready for, but it should be clear to all family members that respect is a basic right.

1. Get the rules straight at the start

Start as you mean to go on! Although you can’t force your stepchild to love or even like you immediately, you can require a certain level of respect. This means you and your partner have to lay down the rules right from the start so that your stepchild knows what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. You should be clear that you will also respect them and their boundaries.

2. Be firm about disrespectful behavior

Once you lay the ground rules, you and your partner should be firm in enforcing them. It’s no use if you make the rules but you don’t enforce them, because then your stepchild will see that you’re not serious. Being consistent is the best thing you can do for the family. Your partner plays an important role here and should back you up if your stepchildren are disrespectful to you.

3. Get to know your stepchild

It’s crucial that you get to know your stepchild. As you get to know them, you’ll get a deeper understanding of the emotions they are going through. If there are situations that consistently cause them to behave disrespectfully or act out against you, getting to know them better may help you get to the bottom of this.

4. Don’t try too much too soon

Don’t try to rush the relationship. Wherever you are on your journey to know each other better, try to enjoy the process instead of always trying to push ahead to the next stage. Your stepchild has been through a lot and will need time to adjust to the marriage, and learn to trust you as their stepparent. Some research shows that it can take four to seven years for a stepfamily to function like a biological family.

5. Keep talking to your spouse

You and your spouse should be a team in navigating this relationship. Your stepkids will look to them especially and if their parent doesn’t call them out on their behavior they may feel like it’s acceptable. Talk to your spouse about what’s happening, what you’re feeling, and what you’re going through. Discuss what’s working and what’s not and from there you’ll be able to face these challenges together.

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Integrating families Living together

10 TV Shows About Blended Families

TV shows about blended families or single-parent families aren’t as rare as they used to be. And while we all enjoy a bit of escapism, sometimes it feels really validating to see a version of your life played out on screen (even if most of them are highly unrealistic). Here are some of our top picks for TV shows about blended families.

The Brady Bunch

The original, if not the best, and certainly the most famous blended family. A widowed mom and her three daughters and a widower dad and his three sons join together to become the ultimate blended family with the help of housekeeper Alice. A lesson is learned in each episode.

Full House (and Fuller House)

A widower’s two brothers move in to help him raise his three children. Bob Saget and John Stamos were especially great in this sitcom, which also offered a life lesson in each episode. In the new version, the kids are all grown up, and the eldest daughter DJ is now a widow with three kids. She returns to her family home to live with her sister and best friend; heartwarming moments and hilarity ensue in both versions.

Modern Family

Modern Family features a blended family, a gay married couple, and a nuclear family, all as dysfunctional and loving as each other. Despite the comedy nature of the show, Modern Family addresses real issues and offers insight into the struggles faced by all families, regardless of how they’re formed. Plenty of laughs to be had!


Single mom Katherine is raising her daughter in London, and offending almost everyone around her at the same time. Having conceived her daughter after a one-night stand with a member of a boyband, she is now ready for another child and spends much of the first season trying to pressure her daughter’s father into getting her pregnant again–despite the fact that they despise each other. This series is far from realistic, but silly and fun. (But NOT one to watch with the kids, there’s plenty of swearing and sex!)

Single Parents

Featuring (unsurprisingly) a group of single parents as they navigate parenting, work, dating, and life in general. This was canceled after two seasons but received positive reviews for its depiction of life as a single parent. It’s also worth watching to see Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester on screen again.

Drake and Josh

This one focuses on the relationship between two very different stepbrothers. One is cool and popular, the other is smart but awkward. A funny and endearing take on teen problems as the boys navigate life in a blended family. A good one for younger kids to watch.

Step by Step

An oldie but a goodie, this ran through most of the 90’s so it’s dated but worth a watch. A divorced man and a widowed woman, each with three children, come together to create a blended family (sound familiar?). There are plenty of arguments and resentments within the family, but they grow to become a loyal and loving family.

Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce

Abby is a successful self-help author who turns to her friends for support as her impending divorce threatens to derail her career. Abby has been the main breadwinner in the relationship and we see her struggle with co-parenting, child support payments, and her ex-husband’s new partner playing a part in her children’s lives. The struggles are realistic (even if everyone is unnaturally beautiful and wealthy) and relatable. Later on in the series, we also see Abby struggle to deal with the ex-wife of her new partner as Abby develops a relationship with his kids.

The Fosters

Stef and Lina are an interracial, lesbian married couple with five children. Brandon is Stef’s son from her previous marriage, and the couple have adopted twins together. They also foster two other children who they go on to adopt later in the series. The premise alone tells you that this show is going to be exploring all the possible dynamics of blended families. Jennifer Lopez was an executive producer for The Fosters, so it has JLo’s stamp of approval!

Sister, Sister

Featuring Tia and Tamera Mowry, Sister, Sister is about identical twins separated at birth and reunited as teenagers. It sounds like Parent Trap, but with a more tragic back story. The girls are adopted out separately at birth, and meet by chance in a shopping mall. The two girls and their parents end up living together in a blended family of sorts, although their adoptive parents are not in a relationship.

You may not see yourself and your family depicted accurately on-screen, but it’s comforting to see the struggles, the joys, and the ups and downs of blended families play out on TV. Let us know if you have any other favorite TV shows about blended families to recommend!

Read more:

Blended Families with Teens: 5 Things You Should Know
Should a Stepparent Discipline Their Partner’s Kids

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