Blended Families

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    Katie Curran Taylor

    I would be interested to see how many out there are living in a blended family situation. Any articles, sites, education that you’ve found helpful and/or supportive?

    Rachel F

    Stumbled on this last night: http://www.bonusfamilies.com/


    We are a blended family. There’s myself, my husband (2nd marriages for both of us) and our children. His daughter (12) and my son (6). We’ve together since the kids were 9 and 3.

    I haven’t found any sites to be super supportive, as they all offer the same advice, most of which wasn’t really relevant for our situation. So, I have just waded blind through! We are doing well though. I think that my stepdaughter has had the hardest time adjusting as she was living with her Dad full time and his to herself all those years, and had quite a bit of freedom and contributed a great deal to decisions…in fact she kind of saw herself as her Dad’s equal even though she was only 9. Then all of a sudden, she had another parent watching out for her, and a little brother who had no idea about personal space LOL.

    Anyway, three years down the track we seem to have adjusted pretty well. The kids call each other ‘brother and sister’ rather than stepbrother/sister. They have regular, healthy contact with the other birth parent and as far as blended families go, we function pretty well I believe!


    I’m in a recently blended family situation. We’re not living together because we don’t want to move our children from their respective high schools, but we ‘blend’ regularly. It’s been fine apart from the relationship between my partner and my younger son, who’s 15. My son gets on very well with my partner’s two youngest – the only ones still living with him – but clashes with my partner. This has upset me because I feel responsible, especially for my son of course.

    I’d be interested to know what your situation is Katie, and any others with insight into blended family issues.


    I’m 26 now and my mum remarried when I was 10 and probably went about things the wrong way. She had been on welfare and living in governement provided housing most of her life so I understand how my step-dad must have looked like a knight in shining armour with his 6 figure salary and promise of security. My mum became very ‘obediant’ so as to not lose this new-found security and as a result, emotionally stopped supporting or being there for my brother and I. My step-dad had a very different perspective on parenting than my mum (he didn’t have any kids) and he believed we were spoiled and lazy. Unfortunately for us, this was all we had ever known and it wasn’t our fault my mum had brought us up this way to date. He blamed us for the laziness and demanded a lot from us even as young kids. Whilst his abuse wasn’t physical (most of the time), it’s very distressing as a child to believe you have literally no one on your side.

    If I could give any parent advice on starting a blended or step-family it would be this: Never forget that you are responsible for the emotional wellbeing of your child. They don’t have anyone else to rely on. Your partner is an adult and while they still deserve your support, it should be your priority to put your child/ren first, 100% of the time.



    Hello K

    After a difficult xmas i came here and saw your post! Very timely as my 15 yr old told me yesterday that this is exactly how it has been for him. He felt abandoned by me because i allowed my new partner to discipline him.

    I feel absolutely terrible about this. In my defence i did feel that a boy of his age needed a father’s influence. I’d been having problems with him being defiant and disrespectful before my partner stepped in, and he did so to support me (without my permission though).

    But the discipline was too strong and wasn’t balanced by warmth.

    I am much softer and more liberal than my partner which causes significant issues as we have 3 teenagers. I suspect the only solution is to continue parenting separately.


    Katie Curran Taylor

    sorry, after i started this, i completely lost track (forgot), my apologies. i am curious if these forums stay pretty active, these days.

    What our family (and me, personally) has gone through in the last few years has been tough. It is a lot of work and as with children, constant change, moods, growth, and often times frustration. our situation in the last six months has changed dramatically and not without a “price”. i wrote this:http://tinybuddha.com/blog/behind-great-anger-is-great-pain-dont-take-it-personally/ and since then, we have managed to survive some really really painful times. last september (2013), my bonus daughter (step) moved out in an act of anger. it was an incredibly rough experience for us all but things have calmed down and fallen into place since. there is a considerable amount of peace and structure, that we have never felt before. she hasn’t spoken to her father since she moved out (and hasn’t contacted her half-brother who is 12) and continues to hate/blame me (and my daughter) for her anger. it’s a heavy thing to bear, even when you know the issue began before, exists still without you, and will never change unless she chooses to recognize her role in her own life and happiness. i have to be okay with that, support my husband through it and move forward.

    in regards to parenting step-children/blended families and “discipline”. I have learned that, unless you blend at a very young age, there will always be a “resistance” or struggle to finding one’s role. the other parent’s involvement/behavior/support is also KEY. i read once that a step-parent should leave major “disciplining” to the biological parent and the bonus parent should take on more of a supportive aunt/uncle type role, in a sense. sounds bizarre or “lazy” and not sure how much truth it bears but there is a very fine line in this parenting role, it’s a hard balance. there should of course, ALWAYS be a parent/child type of respect/relationship but there is an invisible boundary that gets crossed or a nerve that gets struck…it opens up or leads to other issues, you may have not expected. you have to always keep in mind, the child’s story, past, experiences, trust issues, feelings, etc. as well as your own respectable needs.

    it doesn’t have to be hard, it can be beautiful — every situation is different. lots of communication with your partner is most important.


    Thanks Katie for this post and the link to your blog post which was insightful and showed great resilience and understanding on your part.

    My situation is similar except that it’s my child who’s the angry one. My partner has made mistakes with him but has worked this out and is now much more the supportive one. He tries to help me see my son’s side of things and encourages me to be patient and loving.

    Unfortunately my son still refuses to be a part of our lives or mix with my partner’s family. I think some of this is just being a typical teen but what hurts is thinking that I am building a new life that I love, my partner’s family are accepting of me, but my son isn’t a part of that.

    I’d be interested to know how your partner copes with the loss of his daughter. Do you think she will come back to you both one day? How does he reconcile himself to the thought that she might not?

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