Italians Eating with Chopsticks? How to Mesh Family Cultures in Stepfamilies

This post is thirteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

How do you blend two families together into one happy stepfamily? Does trying to do so sometimes feel like meshing two entirely different cultures, like telling Italians and Japanese to eat pasta with chopsticks? It can be done, says Dr. Patricia Papernow, an expert in the field who we introduced here, by making mistakes and learning from them. She called it “learning by goofing,” at a 2016 BYU Social Work Conference. The meshing of the two cultures can lead to misunderstanding and unintentionally hurt feelings. It is only through making these mistakes that people can come to know one another and to reconcile their differences.


Are you in a stepfamily? What mistakes have you learned from, and how have they helped?