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What is a Stepfamily?

A stepfamily is formed by the remarriage or long term

cohabitation of two individuals, when one or both have at least

one child from a previous relationship. Stepfamilies are also

called blended families.

Step-Family Scenarios
1. Man with children marries woman who has never been
married and does not have any kids.
2. Woman with children marries man who has never been
married but has kids.
3. Divorced woman with kids marries divorced man with
4. Widow or widower with kids remarry.
5. Divorced or widowed parents of adult kids remarry.
6. Lesbian or gay couples with children from a prior
What are the Statistics?
Tennessee has the 6th highest divorce rate in the United
One out of two marriages end in divorce
The average marriage lasts only seven years.
Over 50% of divorces in Tennessee involve children.
75% remarry
One in three Americans are somehow related to a
stepfamily situation.
1,300 new stepfamilies form each day.
About 250,000 families are recycled each year
Impacts of New Stepfamilies
on Children

Child may feel like they have a real family again. The child may become bitter or uninviting of their parents
new partner.
Gain multiple role models and extended kin networks.
Holidays split up.
Happy parents
Afraid of new parent taking the place of their biological
Additional siblings parent.
Higher standard of living Less attention.
More flexibility
Interview with a Step-Child
Tell me your experiences being a step-child?
My dad abandoned my family after I was born so I
never lived with a man in the home. When my mother
started dating a new man, I was very upset. I didnt
want him around and I started to feel guilty that it was
my fault my dad abandoned us. Eventually I realized
that he really cared about us all, and I felt happier.
However, my family never had a true unity.
Interview with a Step-Child
Why was it hard to have unity?
The reason I feel we could never be one was because of
my older sisters. They personally knew our dad and was
still hurt he left so they never liked our stepfather.

What would you suggest teachers do to help these

Answering as a young girl, I definitely wish my teachers would
have been available to talk to me more. I withdrew myself for a
while, until one teacher noticed and helped me through. It just
takes one.
Interview with a New Step-
Tell me about your experience starting a new
My husband and I have learned so much. I have learned to
rely on a man, while he has learned to become a dad and be
an example for our son.
What is the hardest challenge as parents?
Discipline. My husband is still cautious with our son. He
doesnt want him to think he is like this real father, but also
wants him to realize he is expected to obey.
Interview with a New Step-
What has been rewarding about this new
Seeing the healing, progress, and unity we have
made. My husband offers qualities that I dont that
really helps us out. I know my son has a real father
figure and a man he can look up to. Lastly, our son
knows his step-father loves both him and me and will
never treat us like we are used to. It has definitely
been a positive experience.
Tips for Families
Be Patient
Understand that this new lifestyle will take getting used to.
Acknowledge the childrens primary bond with their
biological parent
No matter what feelings or opinions you have of them. Never talk negatively
about them.
Spend one on one time your children
Let your child know that you care for them and are genuinely interested in their
Educate yourself about stepfamily life and stages
Find books and websites that address issues and expectations in stepfamilies.
Teachers Approach
Teachers should be aware that there are greater numbers of families who
consist of stepfamilies. Therefore, the use of language such as real
mother, natural father, and broken home should not be used at all.
Teachers should encourage guardians to notify them when changes occur.
Teachers should discuss all types of families.
Teachers should identify areas of support for further assistance for those
students and their families, if help is needed beyond their means.
Teachers should educate themselves of blended family issues and strive to
effectively assist students facing those issues.
Teachers should give time for the student(s) to make a successful transition.
Teachers Approach
Be sensitive to family name differences.
Learn the legalities in each family situation.
Remind parents of the positive aspects for children.
Offer emotional support for children and families.
Designate family events rather than specific events such as
Fathers Breakfast or Mothers Tea Party
Resources Available

8 Tips for Stepfamilies. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
Bray, J. H., & Kelly, J. (1998). Stepfamilies: Love, Marriage, and Parenting in the First Decade.
New York: Broadway Books.

Deal, R. L. (2014). The Smart Stepfamily: 7 Steps to a Healthy Family. Baker Publishing Group.

Gestwicki, C. (2009). Home, School and Community Relations (9th ed.). Florence KY: Delmar
Cengage Learning.

Helping Children Adjust to Divorce: A Guide for Teachers . (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016,
Levins, S., & Langdo, B. (2010). Do You Sing Twinkle?: A Story About Remarriage and New
Family. Washington, DC: Magination Press.
Monroe, R. P., & Barnet, N. (1998). I Have a New Family Now: Understanding Blended
Families. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House.

National Stepfamily Resource Center. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Ricci, I. (2006). Mom's House, Dad's House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or
Two. New York: Fireside.

SMART STORE. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Stepfamilies. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
Stepfamily Counseling, Blended Family Counseling, Divorce Counseling, Remarriage
Counseling, Stepfamily Certification Seminars. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Stepfamily Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Waltz, S. (2015). Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience. Seal Press.

What Teachers Should Know about Blended Families. (2012). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from