Whether you’re a parent raising a blended family or a step-sibling trying to adjust to a new household dynamic, there are ways to ease the transition and establish harmonious living.
That’s why we’ve assembled our favorite reads to help blended families in their journey, whether you need step-parenting tips or general reassurance, our list has it all. We even threw in some feel-good stories to show that, while it can be complicated at first, blended families are truly beautiful.
If you’re marrying a man or woman with kids and you don’t have kids of your own, it can be a serious adjustment. You’re taking on two new major life roles at once ― that of a spouse and a stepparent. We asked experienced stepparents to share their best tips for newbies who don’t quite know where to begin. Here’s what they had to say.
Three years ago, Gina Watson’s life changed in a big way: She moved from the Netherlands to Canada to be with her then-boyfriend Matthew and his two young sons. “Not only did I learn to live a new life in Canada and adjust to the cultural shock, I also became an instant stepmom,” she told The Huffington Post. “A few years later, I am proud of being able to watch my stepsons grow into respectful, hard working young pre-teens.” Here, Watson, the creator of the blog How To Stepmom, tells us more about her journey as a stepmom.
Fifteen years ago, Katherine Hedland Hansen met her stepdaughter Haley. Though she tried to bond with the 5-year-old girl, Haley was not having it. In the years that followed, shouts of “you’re not my parent” and slammed doors were all too common in their house. “I had a lot to learn,” Hedland wrote in a recent Huffington Post blog. “There’s no stepmom manual, so I did what felt right.” Now that Haley is older and a new mother herself, the pair are bonding more than ever before. Here, Hansen tells us more about her journey as a stepmom.
Groom Mike Seldon had guests in tears when he made not one but two sets of emotional vows at his Oct. 28 wedding ceremony in Laguna Beach, California. After reciting vows to bride Brittany Williams, he knelt down and made some heartfelt promises to her 5-year-old daughter Heidi.
After 25 years of step-parenting, Grace de Rond and her husband Ron are definitely well acquainted with the challenges and joys of bringing two sets of kids together. Here, de Rond, who blogs at Partnering, Parenting and Living Well, shares her family’s story.
Children’s book author A.S. Chung knew it would take some time for her partner, Andrew, to adjust to parenting her daughter Hannah. She was happy to show him the ropes, though. “He was 40 when I introduced him to Hannah, and didn’t have any children of his own,” Chung told The Huffington Post. “Luckily for us, he was incredibly receptive and understood the role he had to play to create a harmonious blended family home.” Here, Chung, who lives in Australia and documents her travels on the blog Family Globetrotters, tells us more about her family and how she guided Andrew through the highs and low of parenting.
Stephanie Christie has always been a fan of planning ahead — something that has definitely come in handy now that she’s raising a big blended family. “When you have six kids who live in multiple households, there is no other choice but to plan ahead,” Christie, who works in early childhood education, told The Huffington Post recently. Here, the Michigan-based mom tells us more about her blended family.
Most people don’t plan on becoming a stepparent. Still, the relationships stepmoms and stepdads share with their spouses’ kids are often incredibly rewarding. 13 people on Whisper, an app that lets users share their thoughts anonymously, share heartfelt confessions about life as a stepparent.
Stepparents don’t often get enough credit for raising their stepkids; the truth is, many of them are just as committed to their sons and daughters as bio-parents. 12 stepkids on Whisper — an app that lets users anonymously share their thoughts — sing the praises of the stepparents who helped raise them.
When you’re parents in a new blended family, it often feels like “blending” is impossible. Every family has obstacles — but stepfamilies have considerably more. Here, parents we’ve featured in our Blended Family Friday series share some advice on bonding and overcoming the hurdles.
Thirteen years ago, Brian Hauff married his wife Nicole and became a stepdad to her three kids. Although he was happy to take on the role, earning the kids’ trust took time. “A stepparent has a unique role in the lives of someone else’s children,” he told HuffPost. “If you are in it for the long haul and you have treated your stepkids with love and respect, you’ll hear them tell you that you’ve had an impact on their lives.” Here, Hauff shares more of his family’s story.
One woman’s viral tribute to her stepdad is resonating with people across Facebook. Katelyn Miller, a 21-year-old from Salina, Kansas, penned a touching thank-you letter to her stepdad Lance Jeske, which was shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page on Monday.
Alicia Keys is celebrating the joys of step-parenting with her latest music video, “Blended Family (What You Do For Love).” The three-minute-plus clip, which features rapper A$AP Rocky, highlights Keys’ relationship with husband Swizz Beatz and their sons Egypt and Genesis, as well as his sons Prince Nasir, Kasseem with Beatz’s ex-wife R&B singer Mashonda, who’s also in the video.
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.