Blended Families and Stepfamilies

Blended families are made up of families from divorce and remarriage, and include children who may be biologically unrelated.

Did You Know?

  • Seven-in-ten adults who have at least one step relative say they are very satisfied with their family life.1

  • Within the United States, the divorce rate is relatively high, with 52-62% of all first marriages ending in legal divorce, with 75% of divorced persons remarrying2
  • About 65% of remarriages involve children from previous relationships and form blended families 2

  • Consider the tips below to help you raise successful kids.
  • Create your own holidays and celebrations. Sometimes with visitation needs, kids are away for some traditional holiday times. Work around this by creating your own family traditions. Idea: Try celebrating a real “Christmas in July”. Take the day off, turn up the AC, put out a fake tree, exchange presents and have a holiday meal together.
  • Get more fun activity ideas for families >
  • Try not to speak negatively about your separated or divorced ex-partner. Keep your issues with your ex-partner between the two of you so that the kids don’t feel as if they need to choose sides. This can be really difficult in some circumstances. Sharing how you feel with an older child when they ask about the situation can be okay if you are very careful to let them know they do not need to agree or take any responsibility for the relationship.
  • Learn more about positive family communication >
  • Consider carefully what names and terms you use in your family. There’s no one right way, but “step” and “half” can sometimes feel like “less” when applied to siblings. Explore with your kids about what works for them.
  • Planning can become more complicated when multiple households are involved. Consider using an online, shared calendar so everyone can stay informed of additions, changes or potential conflicts to family schedules.
  • Get easy tips for streamlining family routines >
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    1. Pew Research Center. (2011). A portrait of stepfamilies. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/01/13/a-portrait-of-stepfamilies/

    2. Sobon, S. M. (2006). Characteristics of blended families: A review of three marriage enrichment programs. Unpublished manuscript. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University. Retrieved from http://www.thrivingcouplesthrivingkids.syr.edu/Pdfs/0SobonBlendedFamilie…

    3. Sobon, S. M. (2006). Characteristics of blended families: A review of three marriage enrichment programs. Unpublished manuscript. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University. Retrieved from http://www.thrivingcouplesthrivingkids.syr.edu/Pdfs/0SobonBlendedFamilie…