Home > Family Life > Dealing With Step Families

Dealing With Step Families

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 24 Jul 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Stepfamilies stepparents stepsiblings

Stepfamilies are a fact of life in our society, but that doesn't mean that everyone likes them. In fact, most teens are uncomfortable in their first few weeks, months and even years of living as part of a stepfamily. And it's no wonder - suddenly you have to live with new people, adjust to new routines, get used to new tastes and opinions, and all the while try to remain true to yourself and your birth family as well. If you are having a hard time dealing with a stepfamily, these tips just might help you settle in and settle down.

Know Your Terms - Literally

Stepfamilies come about when a parent loses a partner through death or divorce and decides to remarry (or move in with) a new partner and even his/her children. Consider that if your mum marries a new man, he will be your stepfather and his children will be your stepsiblings. If you dad then remarries a new woman, she will become your stepmother and her children also your stepsiblings. Can you see how stepfamilies sometimes become large and complicated?

Know Your Terms - Figuratively

It is an understandable worry that as your family gets larger and more complicated it will lose some of what made it unique. Even more understandable is the worry that somewhere in this large, complicated stepfamily YOU will get lost in the shuffle. To make sure this doesn't happen, sit down and think about what defines you and your family. You'll be surprised by how easily these traits can accommodate new members, if you want them to.

Treat Your Friends like Family, And Your Family like Friends

You might argue that your stepfamily is neither made up of friends nor family, but given time they will start to feel like both. The point here is that before you can become comfortable with your stepfamily, you need to give them a chance, and to treat them with respect during this time. One way to help calm your nerves is to remember that your mum or dad has found a new partner that (s)he likes enough to let into your lives. Would (s)he do this if (s)he honestly thought it would hurt you?

Leave the Adult Stuff to the Adults

Sometimes the hardest part of dealing with stepfamilies is learning the new rules and positions in your household. How will the money be spent? Who will discipline the kids? Who is going to cook and clean? These are all issues best left up to the adults of the house. If you are uncomfortable broaching these topics with your stepfamily, then stick with your own parent for the time being. Take your lead from how your mum or dad acts, and talk to them about any problems you foresee. As you live together with your stepfamily, you'll probably become more comfortable with them naturally anyway.

Move at Your Own Pace

It may be that your younger sister takes a shine to your new stepfamily right away, but that doesn't mean that you will, or even that you should. Move at your own pace when it comes to dealing with stepfamilies so that you don't have to jump outside of all of your comfort zones all at once. Even if you move at a snail's pace towards adjusting to your stepfamily that's fine, as long as you are giving it a chance and accepting changes as you go along.

Dealing with stepfamilies can be a frustrating, tiring and worrisome business. Give yourself permission to have doubts, but also ask yourself to accept that changes are inevitable and it will take a while before you feel comfortable again. Don't be afraid to admit your fears, but make sure that you celebrate your milestones and successes as well.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • doughnut
    Re: How to Cope With Your Sexual Identity
    Hi, I've been questioning my sexuality for a while. I'm 15 and female, and tonight I had my first kiss with my…
    16 February 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: Contraception: Your Questions Answered
    Sazbo - Your Question:Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex last night however he did not ejaculate inside of me.…
    16 February 2017
  • Sazbo
    Re: Contraception: Your Questions Answered
    Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex last night however he did not ejaculate inside of me. We didn't do it for…
    15 February 2017
  • LizzyBeth
    Re: Coping with a Crush
    @Charlo lotter - crushes are great! They make you feel alive and give you hope and optimism. Watch plenty of romcoms, be in the moment and get…
    15 February 2017
  • Hayhay
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Hi guys. I was a self harmer. I started at 14 and I turn 24 next month. I stopped about 4 years ago but I am here to say be…
    15 February 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Holly - Your Question:I'm only 11 but I always pick my scabs until I bleed and sometimes just make scabs on purpose so that I can…
    14 February 2017
  • TeenIssues
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Emily "Chara" Dreemu - Your Question:I went a really long time without cutting, then I used the blade of a pair of scissors to…
    13 February 2017
  • Holly
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    I'm only 11 but I always pick my scabs until I bleed and sometimes just make scabs on purpose so that I can pick them because it…
    13 February 2017
  • Emily "Chara" Dreemu
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    I went a really long time without cutting, then I used the blade of a pair of scissors to cut myself, I also have depression. Who…
    12 February 2017
  • Charlo lotter
    Re: Coping with a Crush
    Thanks and my story goes like,: I have crush on someone, I met him at the campus ..I don't know his name and from the first time I saw him I…
    11 February 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TeenIssues website. Please read our Disclaimer.