Family Frameworks

Step Families or Blended Families


Mar 2013


Around 65% of our children are being raised in step family homes.  Wow!! That’s a large number.  75% of us are involved in stepfamilies either parents, children or grandparents.  So this is a huge challenge.  I am hoping it’s helpful to give some resources that I have found to be very helpful.  There are some leaders in this area that are doing a lot of study which is really helpful.  Ron Deal, a marriage and family therapist has been doing research in this area for at least 20 years.  I find his information very helpful.  He has a lot of statistics in this area that are helpful to understand if you are in a step family situation.  Ron Deal’s website has a wealth of information for blended or stepfamilies.   One of his recent works has been with Dr. David Olson in designing the The ReMarriage Checkup is especially helpful for couples or small groups.  But Ron has a lot of different information on this site that I think you will find VERY helpful.  His books are easy to read and very applicable.

Elizabeth Einstein’s work is one of the first that I read.  I found it helpful, but I liked Ron Deal’s Faith-based approach a little better.  But it’s got some very helpful information.  She has actually experienced the stepfamily situation several times in her own life where Ron has not.

One of my favorite authors is Nancy Landrum.  She utilizes some communication techniques called “Relationship Enhancement” that I have found to be very helpful with couples.  By teaching the techniques it allows the couples to discuss some of the more difficult issues more effectively and a little easier.  She also brings some very pertinent points in for the couples to discuss.  Nancy has also been in a stepfamily situation, which I find easier to relate to.   It seems like her information really resonated with me, so I like to use her program “Mastering the mysteries of Stepfamilies” in our organization.

Parenthood in America has some good articles on stepparenting which are also sound and good to read.   The National Stepfamily Resources  is another very good site for articles and information about stepfamilies and how to function effectively.  Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder has done a great job designing programs for stepfamilies.

One of the points that I heard from Ron Deal was that Stepfamilies are very complicated.  Most of us in a stepfamily situation don’t want to admit that there are different challenges.  Most marriage books and programs don’t go into the stepfamily situation so couples that have remarried are expected to make the information that is given to original families work in their situation, which in many cases doesn’t work and they give up.  I hope this is helpful and that you will seek more information on how to give your family the greatest chance to stay together.  Don’t give up.  My husband and I have blended our families together for 22 years.  Some times it was literally a blender and other times it was a mixer or chopper.  The greatest thing we did was to give our children the stability of knowing that we were going to stay together and love them no matter what.  I encourage you to do the same.  Happy blending!!

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