New Family Focus

When your mom or dad gets married again
Author: Leslie Quander Wooldridge

If your mom or dad is getting married again, you might feel happy. Then again, you might feel angry, sad or even scared. Change can be hard for everyone. Here are five things to try if you’re getting a new stepparent or even stepsiblings. Who knows, they might be pretty cool if you give them a chance!

Take things slowly. You’ll need to adjust to having a new stepparent or new stepsiblings. If you’re comfortable, see if they want to join you in doing activities you like. But remember: It takes time to get to know people, so give yourself plenty of time as your new family settles in.

Show respect. You don’t need to rush to love your new family, but you should respect them. That means you should listen when your parent or stepparent gives you instructions. And be nice when you talk to your new family members, especially new sisters or brothers.

Be real with your feelings. Kids have all kinds of emotions when families come together. What you’re feeling—whether you’re scared, sad, excited or even annoyed—is normal, and it’s OK to show it. But be real, not rude!

Share your thoughts, too. There may be lots of changes in your home life, so be honest. If you don’t want your new stepmom to help with infusions or if sharing a room with your new stepbrother is hard, say so. Tell your parent and stepparent what you really think. Or reach out to another adult you trust. Maybe your uncle or grandma is easier to talk to. The point is to be truthful, so that adults can consider your point of view.

Try drawing or writing. If you just can’t talk about your thoughts and feelings because you’re shy or don’t know what words to use, try drawing or writing about how you feel. The adults in your life want the best for you. They want you to feel comfortable with changes that are happening. So say or show something, so that the people you love can help!