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
  • RoseH
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    @Sad - you really need to speak to someone about this, a doctor, a school teacher, as it sounds as though you are also suffering…
    23 February 2018
  • jessie
    Re: Coping with a Crush
    @Lovesick - if you think he likes you too - just go with it. :)))
    23 February 2018
  • Sad
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Hi I'm 13 and I've been cutting myself for about 7 months and I've told some friends I self-harm. My guy friend mostly helped me…
    23 February 2018
  • Lovesick
    Re: Coping with a Crush
    Hi.. ?? I’m in 5th grade and I have a crush on a friend that’s really close.. we have know each other since 1st grade..It’s a killer crush.. I…
    22 February 2018
  • khan
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am the student of Psychology and i am conducting research on this topic if you please…
    21 February 2018
  • Epickai64
    Re: First Kiss Tips
    i was just wondering how much dedicated ram to host a server
    19 February 2018
  • Agent To
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    Good atfernoon kids! A week ago when I came home a rainy day my oldest son stood in front of the out door, he was just standing there with…
    15 February 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    mxg_x - Your Question:Hi me and my boyfriend had sex and I forgot to take my pill that day, he pulled out but I got affraid and took the…
    15 February 2018
  • mxg_x
    Re: All about Abortion
    Hi me and my boyfriend had sex and I forgot to take my pill that day, he pulled out but I got affraid and took the morning after pill the next…
    14 February 2018
  • AlexM
    Re: First Kiss Tips
    @ShietYOLO - you'll know when it feels right. But it's kinda nice to ask permission first. Lol!
    12 February 2018
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.