In Praise of Stepfamilies - the better side of stepfamily life

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In the US and the UK, it's estimated that there are more stepfamilies than nuclear families. In other developed countries like Australia and Canada, the figures are not as high but they are on the climb.

Stepparents have bad reputations. Just ask Cinderella and Snow White. Mike and Carol Brady's bunch tried to give blended families a better name, but nevertheless, the word "stepmother" still brings about squirms from kids and stepmoms alike. An elderly couple a few years back told me about their experience bringing two sets of teenagers together back in the 1960s. "We wouldn't do it again," they both agreed. "It never did work and it brought us a lot of pain."

Most everything you read about stepfamilies has to do with evil stepmothers, obnoxious children, responsibility without control, resentful ex-spouses and lack of appreciation. But from my arguably unenviable position of stepmother, I'd like to talk about the better side of stepfamilies. Yes, when they work, they can work even better than "real" families.

Read more: Janice Van Dyck: In Praise of Stepfamilies