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 hopefully 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
  • Amelia
    Re: All about Abortion
    I’m 13 but I’m 14 next Saturday and me and my boyfriend had sex a week ago and we were a condom but it broke?? and I know it was only a week…
    8 December 2018
  • Darcy
    Re: All about Abortion
    I'm 14 and I had sex 3 weeks ago. We used a condom but the condom broke. However he didn't cum. I'm on the pill, i only took it for 5 days and…
    24 November 2018
  • Arvi
    Re: All about Abortion
    My bf and I had a casual cuddling but I'm scared because his dick discharged a fluid and I'm not sure if it was seminal fluid or saliva but he…
    19 November 2018
  • imanitutt
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a program facilitator for Girls Inc of Long Island. I am asking permission to use…
    19 November 2018
  • Bxfy
    Re: All about Abortion
    My periods 4 weeks late, i tjink i want a termination but dont want my parentts to know whats my best option
    13 November 2018
  • Liss
    Re: All about Abortion
    I'm 14 n I had sex 4 weeks ago with my boyfriend who is also 14 but I haven't took a test but I've had morning sickness and feeling sick…
    7 November 2018
  • Lalaxx
    Re: All about Abortion
    Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sec and he didn’t cum. I’m scared i may be pregnant even tho I took a morning after pill , if I am. How do…
    6 November 2018
  • JamesMcRuffles
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    What happens when I argue respectfully or calmly, but my parents don’t. In arguments, I tend to be quiet while they yell. I tend to make a…
    2 November 2018
  • ashi
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    Hi, I am a student and I wish to use your questions in one of the survey I wish to…
    2 November 2018
  • LoveTheJesus
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    Y'all need Jesus, ya filthy animals
    1 November 2018