National Stepfamily Day is celebrated annually on September 16 and was founded by stepparent Christy Tusing-Borgeld in 1997. The 2000 Census was the first decennial census to collect information on the type of relationship between householders and their children, whether biological, step, or adoptive. The same answer categories were introduced to the American Community Survey in 2008. Beginning in 2007, the Current Population Survey asked respondents to identify both a co-resident mother and father, as well as the type of relationship between the child and their parents.
Things have changed a lot in the past decades, where once marriage was a life-long institution and divorce practically unheard of, now more than half of all marriages end in divorce. This isn’t as bad a thing as it sounds, as many of those ‘lifelong marriages’ were held together in spite of internal abuse, general unhappiness, and worse due to societal pressures. Regardless of your opinion on divorce and marriage, something good has come from this new paradigm, and that’s the stepfamily. Stepfamily Day recognizes all those who live in blended families.
Blended families are a beautiful mix of diverse people who each serve an important role in our lives. At times, it can be challenging to appreciate everyone’s unique beauty.
A large percentage of the under 18 population live in a stepfamily environment today, which is why Stepfamily Day is so important. Also known as blended families, extended family members, siblings, and parents work together to create a functional and happy environment. Circumstances can change. It does not matter whether it is a family death, divorce, or another event that resulted in a stepfamily, the vital thing is that they decided to become a family. Stepfamily Day is all about paying honor to this and being proud of being part of a blended family.
There is no denying that becoming part of a blended family can be difficult, but there are a number of different steps that can be taken in order to make the process go as smoothly as possible. There are a lot of great self-help books out there, which can guide you through every stage of becoming a blended family. There are also professionals that are experts in this. Family therapy can offer great support. There are a number of other things that you can do as well. This includes keeping it light. Give everyone the opportunity to get to know each other is important, learning about their likes and dislikes. It does not all need to be heavy and deep conversations at first. You can play games that will help to bring out each other’s personalities so that you can all have fun together. It is also important to try and take it slow. RUshing into a relationship is a big risk, especially when children are not involved. Parents with successful blended families will take their time, introducing a new person into their life at a slow pace. You need to give children the time to adjust properly.
There is no such thing as a ‘broken family.’ Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, or adoption documents.
Being part of a stepfamily can be really challenging, you’re coming into a place with people that weren’t part of your family before, and suddenly they’re uncles, sisters, brothers, even parents to you. How confusing must it be for people who yesterday weren’t related at all to suddenly be considered your siblings? That being said, growing up with a Stepfamily can be really rewarding, especially when everybody works together to overcome the challenges and create an amazing blended family.
To make things even more difficult, if you’re part of a Stepfamily, it almost certainly means that you’ve recently had to deal with going through a divorce. This brings up all sorts of challenges, jealousy amongst siblings and birth parents, and the hostilities that doubtless led to the end of the previous marriage.
These certainly aren’t part of everyone’s experience, and in fact, they don’t have to be the experience that you have. Stepfamilies come together every day that are strong and act like an extended family rather than a divided one. Stepfamily Day is dedicated to appreciating those who have joined your family, and educating yourself on the challenges you face so you can overcome them together.