Cinderella, fatherless child, was raised by an angry widowed stepmother with two overly indulged daughters of her own. Cinderella was cast aside as a servant girl who could do no right. Who knew or cared anything about her situation? No one. It’s just the way it was then. Suck it up!

When I married into a stepfamily with five children years ago, I sort of had to suck it up too. There was one book on the subject of stepfamilies by Emily and John Visher, founders of the stepfamily movement as we know it today. The Vishers were in a stepfamily, and they knew the challenges. They were the first to address the elephant and bring the subject out of the closet. We’ve come a long way since then!

What I remember as a young mom and stepmom, was how LONELY I was. Everyone around me had “normal” families. Everyone naturally loved their own children, who called them, “Mom and Dad”. My family was different.

I couldn’t go to my friends and explain how frustrated I was with my stepchildren. They didn’t understand. They COULDN’T understand because it’s so different from their experiences in nuclear families. Those of us in stepfamilies had to “pretend” that our family was just a regular family.

Today it’s different. The research says that one in three people in America have, are, or will experience being in a stepfamily sometime in their lives. We are no longer in denial and avoidance. There are many good books on stepcoupling, stepparenting, stepchildren, blended families, etc. My book, Stepcoupling, is now out in eBook for easy reading – Click here for details. In some communities, there are even support groups and stepfamily classes. It’s a grassroots movement.

Just think… if Cinderella’s stepmother had been better informed, Cinderella wouldn’t have had to sneak out of the house to meet her Prince Charming. The young girl would have been included in the family carriage and driven to the ball properly. OK, so maybe she wouldn’t have met PC, but she would have been a happier young girl growing up.

How are you educating yourself and supporting other stepcouples and stepfamilies?

Have you thought of starting a small support group?

Susan Wisdom LPC

March 2008

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