Posts Tagged ‘Stepsiblings’


Huffington Post Article: This Stepkid Has Some Helpful Advice On Dealing With Blended Family Problems

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

This Stepkid Has Some Helpful Advice On Dealing With Blended Family Problems
By: Huffington Post

As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we spotlight a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!

This week, our reader Molly Walter gives us a primer on what it was like to gain a stepmom and two new siblings in her teen years.

“It was four teenagers in a house together and all of a sudden we were supposed to be a family,” Molly said. “But to be honest, we became so close so quickly and now I love my stepsister and stepbrother as part of my family — we are so close!”

Below, Molly shares more of her family’s story and offers her best advice for kids in blended family households struggling to find their place within them.

Hi Molly! Want to introduce us to your family?
Sure! There are six family members total: My dad Chip; my stepmom Cyndy; my sister Hannah, 21; my stepbrother Steve, 21; my stepsister Annie, 19; and then there’s me. I’m 24.

My dad and stepmom have been dating since 2005 and living together since 2008. They married in the spring of 2009.

Your dad and stepmom got together when you and your siblings were a little older. How did you feel about it at the time?
Originally, I thought our parents were very brave to try to merge families when all four of us were teenagers. But it miraculously all worked out and we all became very close right off the bat. Now, I’d say the biggest challenge is coordinating everyone. With four kids who live around the country and who all have two sides of a family to spend time with when they come to town, quality family time can be hard to schedule. For the few times a year all the college breaks line up, the time still has to be split between a lot of people, leaving little time for all six of us to be in the same place at once. It definitely requires lots of planning pretty far in advance. Since it can be so crazy, we make sure that all six of us spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together — we have our holiday traditions every year and know that we can always look forward to that time together, no matter what.

What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
I gained three amazing family members! My stepmom, stepbrother and stepsister are my family now and I love them as I love anyone else in my family. My three siblings and I are very close and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

What makes you proudest of your family today?
How supportive we are of each other and how little not being biologically related matters. My stepmom treats my sister and I like her own children, my dad treats my stepbrother and stepsister like his own children, and the four of us kids all treat each other like we’ve been together from day one. We’re always there for each other and have an amazing supportive network in each other around the country.

How does everyone manage the stress that comes with being part of a blended family?
I think a lot of how we as a family deal with that stress comes from our parents. My dad and stepmom have always been really good about when we should handle things as a whole family and when our parents should deal with their own kids separately. Their example set a really great mentality for the family from the beginning. I also think that making time for the “original” families to hang out is an important part of being a blended family.

What advice do you have for kids who are having a difficult time getting used to life in a blended family?
The first thing I’d suggest would be to remember that this is hard. Your parent is marrying someone new and your family just got bigger with some weird, new people! But I would also say that your parent chose this person to spend the rest of their life with and that’s worth at least trying to make it work, as long as no one’s being cruel to you or anyone else. Talk to your parent or sibling(s) if you have any about your concerns and see if they have any ideas. Siblings are great because they’re likely having similar feelings as you. My sister was a huge help to have with me through the whole process, since she was also excited for our dad and new family, but had some of the same reservations as I did. Having someone in that same boat as you can be an amazing resource.
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Molly’s advice in Huffington Post’s article “This Stepkid Has Some Helpful Advice On Dealing With Blended Family Problems” has some great tips on how to manage in a blended family.  Being open to the change is a key point in helping your new situation work.  There are many aspects that go into organizing any family and those aspects seem to double or triple within blended families.

Molly’s experience has worked out well for her and her new siblings but that’s not always the case for every family.  Some situations are a lot less civil and the tension can be very apparent.  If you found yourself in circumstances that aren’t as gracious, please contact our office for guidance.  We can assist you and your family with issues that go far beyond simply getting along.

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Huffington Post Article: 6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family
By: Brittany Wong at Huffington Post

As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we’re spotlighting a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!

Want to know real stress? Get married, have kids, then get divorced and settle down with someone with kids of their own. From conflicts in custody agreements to vindictive former spouses edging their way into household drama, there’s no shortage of stress in the lives of blended family parents.

So what can stepparents do to reduce some of the tension in their lives? Below, we look back at some of the best advice the parents in our Blended Family Friday series have shared with us in the past. See what they had to say, then head to the comments and add your best advice on beating stress in a blended family.

1. Figure out a co-parenting plan with your spouse early on.
Parenting someone else’s kids is not easy — and those first few years are usually the toughest. That said, the road to peaceful relations with your new step-kid will be a lot less rocky if you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on how you’ll parent, including who will be in charge of disciplining.

Step-mom Janice Bissell figured this out with her husband early on in their marriage.”[My husband] gave me fairly free reign on structure and discipline for his youngest, CJ, and he always backed me up.”

On bigger issues with her step-kids, though, Bissell said her husband is the decider — and she’s fine with that. “I’ve also learned to give up control, which has been so hard, but ultimately a very good and necessary thing for our family,” she said.

2. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take it one hurdle at a time.
Husband and wife team Jennifer and Jason said they handle stress the same way any non-blended family would. The only difference? The stress that comes their way includes “slow family courts, pricey parenting coordinators and difficult ex’s.”

So how do they deal? “Stress is stress. We eat the elephant one bite at a time like everybody else,” Jennifer said. “We keep an open forum for communication across the board and spend a great deal of time being together so our bond is strong and valuable. No matter how stressful any of our situations become, we never lose sight of our main goal, which is to experience joy.”

3. See your family — including the ex’s — as a team.
Having an “us against them” mentality is the best way to sabotage your attempts to blend your family or get along with your ex, said Prentiss Earl, a father of two who’s still close with his ex-wife and her new family.

“I’d argue that our situation was more stressful when we maintained a separatist attitude with our individual households,” he told us. “I don’t feel family-related stress as much as I used to because of the way we’ve come together as a team.”

4. Invest in a chore chart.
If you want to see chores actually get done in your home, it’s time to buy a big white chore board, said step-mom Raiye Rosado. “Use a chore chart, for the love of all that’s good in the world. Seriously, it changed everything.”
chore chart Photo credit: Raiye Rosado

5. Remind yourself to celebrate even the smallest of victories.
Your oldest and youngest bond while building a pillow fort. You and your wife managed to coordinate your custody agreements so you could plan a mini vacation in the fall. Small wins like this are worth celebrating, said blended family mom Andi Parker-Kimbrough. “Live one day at a time (or one moment if you have to),” she said. “Blend little by little and celebrate even the smallest breakthrough.”

6. Whatever you do, don’t aim for perfection.
No nuclear family is perfect, so why should any blended family strive to be? Our reader Kellee Mulkerin-Ford told us that the first step in making progress as a blended family is to lower your expectations a bit. “Stop thinking that things are going to be perfect. It’s not going to happen,” she said. “The kids will not get along all the time, the house will be not always be quiet, you will not always hear ‘please’ and ‘thank you.'”

Instead, she recommended that parents take a more sensible approach to blending. “What is realistic is taking stock of how incredibly lucky you are to have more children to love and to guide.”

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In Huffington Post’s article “6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family” they have a few ideas that could really help step-families reorganize into an improved and productive lifestyle.

There are many ways to beat stress but the key is to remember to do them!  We have all had ideas and made promises to ourselves to do more, plan better and work harder.  Life tends to change things around before we are even ready, so we need to prepare, plan ahead and always remember to work as a team.

And sometimes that means you need to stand your ground to gain control of a situation and sometimes it requires that you relinquish that need to control and become more flexible in an already chaotic circumstance.

Whether you are in a position that handles most of the choices for your family or at a point that feels as though you struggle to maintain the smallest of decisions, our office is here to assist you.  There is always hope and we are available to help you with the steps that are essential to create an improved standard of living for you and your family, it’s worth the call!

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!