Highlight: Stepfamily living

The holidays tend to be a stressful time of year for blended families, especially when it comes to planning schedules, buying gifts and starting new traditions. Your step-family can thrive, not just survive, this Christmas season. Laura Petherbridge shares a few of the complications of step-family living.

“A lot of people, until they’re in a step-family, don’t realize how complicated step-family living is. Some of it is just numbers; there’s more people.”

“You’re dealing with not only mom and dad, but now you’re dealing with mom and dad, who they are dating or have married, and all the grandparents or in-laws of that come along with all of that.”

In addition to embracing more people into the family, Laura says it’s important to understand the root of step-family dynamics.

Step-families are birthed after a loss. There had to have been a death, a divorce, or a breakup of the couple in order for the step-family to even exist, and losses come with hurt, pain, fear, grief, anger; all kinds of emotions that you do not have in a first time marriage.”

Step-moms often face a unique set of challenges on their own, so it’s important to remind them that they are loved and accepted into the family. Laura shares helpful tips for stepchildren,

“Anything you do she will appreciate. Step-moms, in most cases, they don’t feel they’re a part of the family circle.”

“Remembering her birthday, remembering Christmas, Mother’s Day is a huge one. Stepmoms typically hate Mother’s Day because they have all the work of being a mother, all of the chores, all of the labor, and all of the sacrifices, but they typically don’t get any recognition for that.”

By gaining a better understanding of step-family living, you will be able to embrace new family traditions, settle any unresolved issues and celebrate the holidays with less stress.


Laura Petherbridge serves couples and single adults with topics on women’s issues, relationships, step-families, co-parenting, single parenting, divorce prevention, and divorce recovery.

101 Tips for the Smart Stepmom

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