Far from being the exception, blended families are quickly becoming the norm. While there’s a shortage of official statistics on stepfamilies in the U.S., the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of U.S. children reside in stepfamilies.
For every parent — and child — who finds themselves part of a blended family, it’s a completely new experience, and not always one you can prepare yourself for. Being a stepparent is not the same as being a biological parent. The family dynamics are naturally more complex, which can lead to dramas and misunderstandings.
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to have a happy, secure blended family. It might take a little time. Unfortunately, becoming a stepparent doesn’t come with a guidebook, but these rules — some from parenting experts and some I’ve relied on myself over the last few years, as my husband and I created our own blended family of eight — will help you rise to the challenge, work through the growing pains and create a loving, respectful, peaceful home.