Millions of new stepfamilies are formed each year, and each one represents a unique blending of the old and the new. The self-help books listed below are the most useful guides to this complex and long process.
One of the biggest hurdles is getting over the idea that the new, blended family should immediately “feel like a family.” The truth is – it just doesn’t, at first.
These self-help books offer useful strategies for building a solid foundation for a new family, and good ideas for dealing with the difficulties along the way.
More Recommended Self-Help Books on Blended Family
Blending Families: A Guide for Parents, Stepparents, and Everyone Building a Successful New Family
Today more Americans are part of a second marriage family than a first. These newly blended families are confronted with special challenges – emotional, financial, disciplinary, and interpersonal. This problem-solving self-help guide offers solid solutions and includes real-life stories from families who have been through the adjustment process.
1999, Berkley Publishing Group
David and Lisa Frisbie point out four key strategies to help provide long-term unity in a stepfamily: forgive everyone, including yourself; see your new marriage as permanent and successful; work with any conflicts that arise as an opportunity to get better acquainted; and form a spiritual connection centered on serving God. 2005, Harvest House Publishers
Keys to Successful Stepfathering describes the contributions a stepfather can make to his new family, with suggestions about how he can assume a dependable and reassuring presence in family life. Also described are some of the stumbling blocks a stepfather might encounter and how he can overcome them. The author stresses the importance of compromise and respect for others in resolving family conflicts. 2010, Barron's Educational Series
Ron Deal offers seven effective, attainable steps toward creating a healthy marriage and a workable and peaceful stepfamily. Exploding the myth of achieving an idealized "blended family" he helps parents discover the unique personality and place of each member of the family, while honoring the families of origin and establishing new traditions. 2006, Bethany House
Based on a NIH study conducted by the authors over a nine-year period, Bray and Kelly identify three general types of stepfamilies – the Neotraditional, the Matriarchal, and the Romantic. They found Neotraditional stepfamilies, which eventually look somewhat like traditional nuclear families, have the best success of surviving the trials and disappointments of stepfamily life, while Romantics either fail or develop into other kinds of stepfamilies, and Matriarchals see varying degrees of success. This self-help book offers inspiring insight into how successful stepfamilies do it. 1999, Broadway
Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family
Blending two existing families into one cohesive whole is the challenge facing millions of remarried Americans today. Different parenting styles, finances, relationships with ex-spouses, legal matters -- all can chisel away at your union if you don't always make your marriage a priority. This invaluable remarriage self-help manual can help you make your stepcouple the foundation of a strong, happy, and successful stepfamily. 2002, Three Rivers Press
Author Mark Rosin tells his own story as a stepfather and interviews more than fifty stepfathers. Issues addressed include becoming a step-father, handling discipline and authority, communication with the wife and mother, dealing with the non-custodial father, money issues, and the rewards of step-fathering. This is an encouraging and hopeful self-help book. 2009, Simon & Schuster
Stepmonster illuminates the harrowing process of becoming a stepmother, looks at the common myths and realities of being married to a man with children, counteracts the cultural idea that stepmothers are solely responsible for the difficulties they encounter, identifies the "Five Step-Dilemmas That Create Conflict," and considers the emotional and social challenges men with children encounter following remarriage. 2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Stepwives: Ten Steps to Help Ex-Wives and Step-Mothers End the Struggle and Put the Kids First
Once bitter enemies (Louise married Lynne's ex-husband), the authors, with the assistance of psychologist Krausz, created a ten-step program called Co-Mamas to help ex-wives and step-mothers build a healthy relationship that puts children first. This self-help book offers practical suggestions for developing empathy and learning to lessen tension and support the children caught in a divorce. 2002, Fireside
Sensible, realistic, and positive advice--from sharing a bathroom to initiating conversations--for men and women that "inherit" children in addition to a new spouse. The success or failure of a stepparent to bond with stepchildren can make or break a new marriage. But this book contains a refreshing message--it IS possible to achieve longlasting, rewarding relationships with your new children. These 7 basic steps provide you with the essentials, from deciding what kind of stepparent you want to be to realizing that love comes later. 2001, St. Martin's Griffin