Communication Matters: Step Family Communication

Apr 1, 2019

The majority of us in the US are part of a restructured family, and scholars note that although a prevalent structure, there are unique challenges to the most common restructured family: a step family.

Internally, boundaries are often unclear – can you share sensitive information with blood and stepsiblings? Can your stepfather discipline you? Do you keep old rituals, or change them after remarriage?

My own research finds there are also external societal pressures on stepfamilies. You may say you have four brothers, instead of two biological, one step, and one half to avoid questions or judgement from outsiders.

Luckily, research also explains how to foster positive stepfamily relationships, validating all parental authority, discussing the origin story of how your family came to be and cultivating relationships across the larger stepfamily system are all essential.