Stepfamilies need time to adjust to new rules and responsibilities. Do you make lunch for the kids or do they make their own?  Who pays for gas in the car?  We have found that when creating the "rules" for our home, including the kids in the plan is the way to go! 

Stepfamilies need time to develop. Time and "low heat" are key. Building history takes time. Occasionally, we may feel like we have to rush the process. Unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves, or the unrealistic expectations we let others put on us can be a detriment to the family. We feel everyone is watching, and we can't make any mistakes. If we feel like things aren't going very well, we don't want to admit that we may be failing again. Embarrassment can lead to isolation.

Another way I (Brenda) have tried to affirm my stepkids' trust is to support them with their mom. When it was her birthday and they were younger, I would take them out to help purchase a birthday gift for her. Any time I could "come on their turf" to help them, I did.  Once again, I wanted them to know that I am not there to pull them away from their parents. I care about them and want them to know that I am here for them.

One more thought. You can be doing all the right things to build relationship with your kids, bio and step. But if there are destructive conversations aimed at you from the other home, these do not negate the fact of still doing the right thing. These negative comments can undermine what you are doing. If you had to stand before Christ today, would He see your relationship with your kid(s) as supportive, nurturing and pointing the kids to Him? Stay strong and consistent with your kids. It's a battle for their heart.

Showing the child that you are really trying to understand how they feel and what they are dealing with will bring defenses down. Then think how best to love them, whether they are two years old or 32. Remember, they did not ask for this remarriage and whether you've been blending your family for three months or 15 years, adjust and be flexible. 

The legacy of your family and children are worth you responding in love to see life through with Those People.

Originally posted July 3, 2010.


Gil and Brenda live in Vancouver, Washington. They have 7 children between them, ages 18-29. Gil graduated from Bethany Bible College; he currently is an insurance broker and active in the community with marriage and family issues. Brenda was on staff as Children's Pastor of their church and now works with a youth development organization and is involved with marriage and family initiatives.

Gil and Brenda deliver a fresh style of encouragement to this ever-growing population in society— the blended family. Willing to speak the obvious from their own step family adventure, the Stuarts share heart to heart as they walk the walk. Their book, Restored and Remarried was recently released along with their 8 week workbook. Gil and Brenda are available for seminars, workshops and retreats. Find them at www.restoredandremarried.com.