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Ask Yourself

* Is living in a Blended Family or a Stepfamily “more than you bargained for?”

* Does step parenting feel like the most challenging and thankless job of all?

* Is the tension and conflict taking its toll on your relationships

* Are you becoming worried about your children and their well-being?

* Are you constantly arguing with your partner about the kids, discipline and parenting in general?

• Is your ex or your partner's ex causing real problems in your blended family and in your relationship

• Are you at the end of your rope and need some answers NOW

* Are you considering entering into a Blended Family or Stepfamily and want to be prepared?

Stepfamily Stories

RaeFamilyDavid and Lisa Boux – Blended Family of the Month

“Our meeting was electric but after many months when we blended families, we had some periods of static. David's children were entering their teens, while my (Lisa's) children were still quite small (6 and 4) and that was a major adjustment for David to return to having more dependent children around. He often felt neglected, as any person would, when I had to tend to the younger children.

Our custody arrangements were such that we had all the children every other weekend, allowing us to have the alternate weekend to ourselves. The time alone was very important to solidify our relationship but lasted for only a short time as I became pregnant and had a baby girl. Although this brought with it a whole new set of challenges, she has really glued our family together.

In spite of our commitment to each other, the blended family issues became larger and more trying than we expected. Some outside help became desperately needed. In an online search, I found and e-mailed Yvonne for solutions. We met weekly in a three-way phone call and she helped us muddle through many roadblocks that we faced. She let us know that all of our feelings and responses to situations were normal and understandable. It was okay not to feel “love” for each others kids and it didn't have to mean the end of our relationship.

We had 10 sessions with Yvonne which seemed to cover most of our issues and her door is always open if we come across difficult issues. She is a very warm, compassionate person and has many concrete solutions in times of turbulent weather. "

Lisa Boux, Winnipeg , MB



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“I love working with couples like David and Lisa. When they first came in search of support and information, they were juggling a lot of demands and the issues were simply overwhelming them, as is the case in so many step or blended families. But they were both so open to working on their issues, to being open and honest with each other and to facing the “tough stuff” that had accumulated over time between them as a couple, in addition to all of the step dynamics.

Of course learning how to relate to each other's children was a central theme with the demands of teenagers on one side, and very young children on the other side. David and Lisa both had to make the stretch to understand just how hard it was for each of them in relation to the other person's children and the demands that they now faced. They also came to realize how the bonds they had with their own children and the absence of that bond with their partners' children, had the potential to drive a wedge between them as a couple. However, once they became aware of this and were able to understand that it was the dynamic that was the problem and not each other, they were able to nurture a new appreciation for the other person.

And yes, the birth of their own baby did bring with it additional challenges, but more than that, she solidified their family in a unique way as she is the one person who shares a “blood” relationship with everyone. She is the sister and the daughter that brings everyone together as is the case in so many blended families.

I commend David and Lisa for their hard work and perseverance, and respect for one another. They are “living proof” that despite the tremendous challenges that living in a blended family naturally brings our way, when two people decide to “not blame themselves or each other” but to look for solutions that can actually take them forward, then anything is possible. Way to go guys! Others will surely gain some hope, some inspiration and some perspective from your example.”

Yvonne Kelly, Founder and Co-Director of The Step and Blended Family Institute.

As you know, families and stepfamilies in particular, come in all shapes and sizes. And each one has its own unique story to tell. You may be a first time stepmom whose pulling out her hair, a biological dad who is living far from his own children while raising his stepchildren, or a daughter who is trying really hard to get along with her new stepdad. Some of the stories will be stories of success, others will tell us about your struggles. We want to hear them all because we can all learn from each other.

Here are some themes or ideas to get you started in your thinking:

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Anything you’d like to tell us would be wonderful. We will protect the anonymity of the contributors. Stories will be compiled and with your permission, shared with other families “living in step” to help them on their journey. For families that would like to be featured as a STEPFAMILY OF THE MONTH, please indicate so in your e-mail or letter and we will share your story on the Website.

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