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Smart Stepfamilies

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Stepfamily Living

Apps for Stepfamilies

Benefit from these smartphone or tablet apps with enrichment content for blended families and stepparents.
How God Uses Family Life to Disciple Us

How does God use family life to mature us in Christ?
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Stepping Up in a Stepfamily

Have you ever wondered how God feels about you and your stepfamily? How does God feel about people in less than "ideal" family circumstances?
Don't Go Nuclear!

Stepfamilies can become a great second chance for family if we as step-people remember just a few things: First, don’t go nuclear – allow stepfamilies to establish their own identities...

Communication in remarriage is a tremendous challenge.  Learn some high impact skills from seasoned stepmother and stepfamily educator, Carri Taylor.
How to Cook a Stepfamily

Whether you realize it or not, your stepfamily has likely assumed a specific integration style. By that, I mean a set of assumptions about how your stepfamily ‘ought’ to come together. I like to use cooking as an analogy to identify some integration styles that stepfamilies attempt to utilize.
Soothing Holiday Stresses

Holidays can be particularly stressful for divorced families. Expectations of family get-togethers when you no longer feel like a family, hectic schedules and visitation agreements, school and religious events where you are likely to come face to face with the other parent all contribute to STRESS...
Combining Holiday and Family Traditions

Traditions are important because they communicate our identity as family and their predictability provides security to our lives. When traditions are broken or changed—even if the change is preferred—something dies inside us.
Six Ways to Avoid Holiday Step-Stress This Christmas

Stepfamilies take the busy-ness of the holiday season and compound it—times two. Two sets of parents must find a way to be civil at programs and pageants. Mix in all the grandparents, visiting family and friends, and it can be a recipe for stepfamily disaster. There is hope, however. With plenty of planning ahead, putting others first, and preparing the heart, successful stepfamily holidays can be achieved. Consider these steps to avoid additional “step-stress” this holiday season...
When the "White Picket Fence" Fades

As we begin this new stepfamily we occasionally take time to "scrape" away the old paint we thought had already been removed. Through God’s help our "White Picket Fence" is white once again (okay maybe a little "off-white"), but this time protected with a lacquer which only comes from the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Twenty Pro-Active Suggestions for Bridge Building in Blended Families

Looking for some practical ideas to build relationship with your stepchildren and extended stepfamily?  Look no further.
Is There Sunken Treasure in Your Home?

Consider each relationship in your life to be a large ship carrying priceless treasure.  The treasure on board your ship is the people in the relationship including your spouse, your natural children, and your stepchildren (new children).  Every person in your family is a treasure!
No Apologies Necessary: Building Your Home With Purpose

Help Wanted!  A stepmom who strives to create a home where her husband and children hate to leave in the morning and look forward to coming home at the end of the day.

Learning to Roll With Change

"Change is good."  "The only thing constant is change."
Living Arrangements

Where you live and your specific living arrangements can have a significant impact on your stepfamily. Ideally, you’d move into a home that is new to all. It puts everyone at the same starting point and prevents family members from feeling invaded or like an outsider moving in. But, in most cases, moving into a new home is not feasible or practical.

Food Fight!

Cooking for a family is difficult enough, but in a stepfamily it has unique challenges. Even if you’re not a health nut, combining taste buds, food traditions, and eating habits is a tricky area to navigate. Unless the stepfamily was formed when the children were very young, the children have not grown up with the same food customs, rules, or preferences. Even the adults, sometimes more set in their ways than the children, have a difficult time adjusting.
"Thankful, Thanksgiving Stories"

What's Thanksgiving like at your home?  We asked, and you responded...
New Beginnings

God has a plan to transform how you love and who you are to others.  In Christ, all things are made new.  The One who made the heavens and earth, the One who was raised from the dead, the One who gives life and hope to the fallen, is the same One who takes our selfish brokenness and transforms it into a sweet gift of sacrifice.
Working Together

Many hands make the load lighter – and make the house messier too!  Stepfamilies usually mean more people in the home. It’s important that all family members are required to pitch in to help around the house.
Playing Together

The stepfamily that plays together stays together. Stepfamily life can be tough, but stepfamilies can also be fun (really!).
Stepfamily Math

Please don't check out on me simply because I used the word, "math" in the title of this post.  What I want to do is to illustrate the complexity of stepfamilies mathematically.  OK, just follow me here.

            R = n(n-1)

R means the # of Relationships in a system from one person to another.

n means the number of people in the system...

Tradition, Tradition! Creating Christ-Centered Traditions for Your Thanksgiving & Christmas

What exactly does “tradition” mean at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Is it sticking to the same, old way of doing things year after year, or does it mean something entirely different? 

Six Steps Forward, Not Looking Back

Stepfamily homes can be places of warmth, love, and belonging.  They can also be filled with stress.  But for stepfamilies who hold God’s hand, and trust Him to show the way, the journey to the Promised Land is worth the wait.

Unrealistic Expectation #439: My Life is My Own

I keep running into expectations that really set people up for disappointment and frustration--and this one’s a doosy!
Growing Together

Read about one stepfamily’s journey through doubt and discouragement to the confidence that they would do it all over again.
Counting the Dog Years

...“eight years in a blended family feels more like eight dog years.”  I made a quick calculation in my head.  Seven times eight equals fifty-six.  The past eight years of our marriage did feel more like we had lived through fifty-six years.
Not for Sale!

Brianna Buckman remembers well the day her stepdaughter declared that Brianna was not for sale!

Find out how humor and a smile can help stepfamilies find balance on the tightrope of life.
A Touch of Inspiration Out of the Mouth of Babes

Have you ever learned an important lesson about life from your kids?  Here's a touch of inspiration...
The Stepfamily Vacation

We look forward to vacations with such anticipation and expectation. We want to have a good time, relax, and enjoy something different. Unfortunately, sometimes with a stepfamily vacation, what happens is anything but enjoyable and we end up feeling about as relaxed as an air traffic controller.
11 Survival Tips for the Early Years

Before taking a trip to a far-away country, you might want to make a check-list of key survival tips.  Consider the following your survival companion for the early years of stepfamily life.
One is Silver, the Other Gold

What is a stepmother and stepdaughter to do when their grief and holiday traditions collide? 
Holiday Hope… for Single Parents and Blending Families

Whether you are a single parent or in the process of blending two families, this season may find you counting your problems instead of your blessings, and grieving over Christmas past instead of celebrating Christmas present. The good news is, there is hope! Here are some helpful ideas and suggestions to minimize the chaos and maximize the Christ in your Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
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A New Family

...I needed then to know I was loved and valued as a member of this new family. As a young child I needed to know that love doesn’t divide, but rather multiplies, given time and effort.
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Enduring Disharmony

I’m going to give you a strange suggestion.  I prefer to think of it as a gift, really.  But it’s the kind of gift you wish someone wouldn’t ever give you because it represents a truth you don’t like hearing.  Are you ready? 
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Smart Churches, Smart Stepfamilies

After serving and consulting with local congregations for nearly 20 years in the areas of youth and family ministry it seems that churches are finally getting a full picture of American family life.  Church leaders are learning more about the families that comprise their congregations and communities.
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I Choose To Love You

God uses all family experiences to deepen our walk with Him.  Stepfamily life offers parents and children alike the unique opportunity to reflect God's choice to love.  When stepfamily members choose to love, amazing things happen. 

Clicking this article link opens a PDF document from HomeLife magazine.  Click "Open" when prompted.  (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)

Weathering Storms in a Stepfamily

Stepfamilies experience emotional monsoon-like conditions more often than nuclear families. In a stepfamily, life may seem kind of quiet and calm for a period of time, when suddenly, out of nowhere comes a huge emotional storm...

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Preserve Your Life -- Hold Your Tongue

“My ex is such a jerk. He is slothful and dishonest. He is a cheater at everything he does. He is selfish and mean and I can’t stand the sight of him! If my kids grow up to be like him I don’t know what I’ll do!”
Creating a Family Identity

Everyone has stories to share, and the most important people in the world with whom to share them are those inside your own family tree. Family traditions, quotes and tall tales are valuable tools that can be used to help create a unique family identity.
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Tribute to John Visher, MD

Co-founder of the Stepfamily Association of America, California psychiatrist Dr. John Visher, died April 17 at his home in the San Francisco bay area city of Walnut Creek. He was 88.

Despite the obvious bonding that takes place when families have fun together, most stepfamilies don’t strive for play on a regular basis.
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Creating an Enjoyable Stepfamily Holiday

Here are a few suggestions for successful stepfamily holidays that will allow your family to enjoy one another and create lasting memories instead of simply surviving another holiday season.
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In odd ways, the remarriage / stepfamily tour of duty has its Foxholes similar to what you’d find in a combat zone.

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Overcoming the Jealousy Monster

Jealousy and its close cousin, resentment, are not uncommon in stepfamilies.
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The Blame Game

When stepparents and stepchildren struggle to connect or have a strained relationship, family members naturally look for something—or someone—to blame. But that can be dangerous!
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Weddings and the Stepfamily

“My stepdaughter and I have had a great relationship for over 12 years,” the woman shared. “She is planning her wedding, and I assumed I would be included. But all of a sudden she treats me like I don’t exist. I don’t understand. What happened?”
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Talking Blended

Stepfamilies are referred to by many different names. Blended family, step-family, stepfamily, etc. So which is it?
A Matter of Perspective

There are plenty of other perspective differences in blended families. Children and adults often find themselves disagreeing based on where they stand, that is, how they see it. Why is that?
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Christmas Reminders

Recently I had a conversation with a man that I hope to never have with you.
A Shot in the Arm

Have you ever felt like Jon? He wrote to me asking for some encouragement; what he was really hoping for was a solution.

New Faces in the Frame

What should you do with pictures of the former family?
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The 5 Biggest Mistakes Stepfamilies Make

It was a live national radio broadcast with Focus on the Family when Greg Smalley asked me a question. “Ron, what are the five biggest mistakes couples in stepfamilies make?” It was an excellent question.
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