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Stepparenting with Grace

Offering support and guidance for the stepparenting journey. As a mom/stepmom of five kids for 16 years, I understand the challenges that accompany stepparenting and raising kids in a blended family. I hope to offer encouragement and wisdom for...

Gayla is a winner of Top 25 Moms with Blended Families - 2012

What aspect of being in a blended family has surprised you?

It surprised me to realize how much harder it is to be a stepparent than a biological parent. When I married my second husband, I had two daughters already and loved being a Mom. But I was surprised to find out how difficult the role of stepmom was and the degree of emotional impact stepparenting had on me.

What's a good tip for preventing sibling rivalry?

A good tip in preventing sibling rivalry is to be fair to all siblings involved, step or bio. If you think one of your children or stepchildren feels he/she is being treated unfairly, bring up the subject and discuss it. Don't allow any kind of injustice among siblings in your home.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to moms who are about to become part of a blended family?

One piece of advice I'd give to moms starting out in a blended family is to be patient with your relationships. Don't expect bonding to occur overnight and if you have children of your own, don't expect to have the same feelings immediately for your stepchildren that you have for your biological children. Let your stepchildren set the pace in how quickly or slowly your relationships develop. Particularly with older stepchildren, give them their space and expect the relationships to take longer to develop. Stepfamily research says it takes blended families 4-7 years to bond. In our experience with five children, it took longer than that. Be patient as you learn how to love one another and come together as a family.