In a Stepfamily? Come to this Lecture!

“When you have a blended family,” said stepparent Isabella, in a recent Connections article, “you have the chance to learn how charity works. Having a blended family has been a blessing to us because we had the opportunity to become an eternal family.”  While stepfamilies are becoming more common in modern society, blending them is still a challenge, according to Patricia Papernow, an expert in the study of stepfamilies and a speaker at our 2016 Social Work Conference. “It’s like Italians eating with chopsticks.” At an upcoming presentation, School of Family Life professors Jeff and Tammy Hill will share some useful tips for members of blended families both on- and off-campus.

In particular, they’ll:

  • share their own personal experience of blending their 12-kid family,
  • provide the most current research on blended families and what actually works.
  • tackle counterproductive myths about blended families,
  • equip attendees with research and gospel-oriented principles to assist them

The lecture will be held on November 8th and 7pm in room 2265 of the BYU Conference Center. Overflow will be in room 2267. It is offered as part of the Families at Risk lecture series, which provides family with techniques, perspective, and hope to take on today’s threats to family. Registration is required beforehand here, and the cost is $25.

The stress associated with numerous family transitions can pile up, the consequences of which may persist into emerging adulthood.,” said Drs. Erin Holmes, Kevin Shafer, and Todd Jensen in a 2016 study. It is imperative that people who are in stepfamilies or who know people in stepfamilies understand the importance of successful blending and the best ways to do so. Each widowed and remarried, Tammy and Jeff Hill are eager to share their experiences with others.

 

fun-663196__180

One Way to Validate Children in Stepfamilies

This post is fifteenth 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.

It can be difficult to adjust to living with a step-parent, especially for children and teens. According to stepfamily expert Dr. Patricia Papernow, the best thing a parent can do to ease that adjustment is to listen to what their children are saying. In order for the blended family to be successful, the youth need to feel validated. Papernow said, in a 2017 BYU Social Work Conference, “[It] turns out people have really big hearts.” If parents listen to and acknowledge their children’s possibly negative feelings, the transition to a blended family will be smoother. This two-minute video highlights how:

BYU’s Social Work Conference is held annually for clinicians and members of the public. Papernow is a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, Ma, and Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education. The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair, which sponsors the conference, was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, social development, and single parenting.

Step-Outsiders vs. Step-Insiders: How Step-parents May Feel

This post is fourteenth 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.

It’s no secret that divorces and remarriages can be messy. How do you blend two families together? What do you do if your child doesn’t like your new spouse? In a step-family, how do you reconcile old relationships with new? Dr. Patricia Papernow addressed these questions at BYU’s 2016 Social Work Conference. Papernow cited the example of a man named Gary, who was biological father to his daughter Hallie, and remarried to Claire. Gary and Claire were having a conversation when Hallie burst in wanting to talk about soccer tryouts. Gary turned away from Claire to focus on his daughter, leaving his new wife feeling left out. Dr. Papernow said that this is a common feeling: “Step-parents often become stuck outsiders. Stuck outsiders often feel invisible, unseen; they feel rejected. [Remarried] parents are stuck insiders…[they] are torn between the people that they love. They often feel anxious, they may feel inadequate.” The former has to learn how to fit in while the latter has to learn to balance what everyone wants: their children, their new spouse, and their ex-spouse. It’s clearly very difficult to navigate the intricacies of a step-family.

 

Watch Papernow’s full address below for advice on how to address these and other issues, or subscribe to the Connections magazine of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences to get the latest information on stepfamily research when the next issue comes out in a couple of months!

 

Dr. Papernow is an internationally-recognized expert on stepfamilies. She integrates her deep understanding of the research with four decades of clinical practice and a wide variety of modalities and theoretical modes. She has written two of the classic books in the field as well as numerous articles, book chapters, and guest blog posts. She is known as a highly engaging teacher, an excellent speaker, and attuned, caring, clinical supervisor. Dr. Papernow is a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, Ma, and Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education.

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair, which sponsored the conference, was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, “social development,” and single parenting.

What’s your advice for blending two families?