Advice on becoming a stepfamily


If you have recently become part of a stepfamily, whether you are the stepparents or have brought a new partner into your children’s lives, you will know that it takes time to build a new family. New relationships need to develop and existing ones have to feel secure again. But children often find it easier to adapt to new lifestyles and with time and effort it’s possible for the new stepmother or stepfather, together with the new living arrangements, to feel completely natural to them. Family Lives top tips for successful stepfamilies

  • Value those around you. Remind everyone that relationships need to be worked at.
  • Teenagers can be difficult, especially when it comes to discipline, so don’t always assume that the problems arise from the forming of a stepfamily.
  • If you are a new stepmother or stepfather and children aren’t being welcoming, it might just be because having a new person in their parent’s life, suggests to them that their original family is never going to get back together again. Give it time for them to get used to the new arrangements.
  • Family obligations like caring for elderly or frail relatives can be particularly complicated for stepfamilies. Make time to plan what you have to do and what you can share out with others.
  • If you’re getting married, try to find a role for the children in the wedding arrangements. This will make them feel included in the changes to their family.
  • A death in a stepfamily can act as a reminder of the different relationships in the extended family. Try not to resent it if you’re excluded from any events that you can’t reasonably be a part of.
  • Remind stepchildren that they could gain additional friendship and support through their stepparents friends and family.
  • Make time for yourself. Time is needed for a new stepmother or stepfather to be alone to strengthen your relationship – the key to the stepfamilies success.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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