Each week on HuffPost Divorce, people in stepfamilies share their best advice on blending a family as part of our Blended Family Friday series. It's usually parents who impart their words of wisdom, but every once in a while, we hear from a stepkid on their unique experience.
Below, eight lessons stepkids learned from growing up "Brady Bunch"-style.
1. Your parents are people with wants and needs of their own.
"[Parents] are human and just want to be happy, too. That was always the hardest thing to remember. Divorce is not your fault. My sister, my brother and I didn't contribute to my parent's divorce: it was them being human, no longer feeling loved or appreciated and leaving to look for happiness and love from someone else. " -Rebecca Ryan
2. Family is what you make of it.
3. Divorce and second marriages may end up being more of a blessing than you realize.
"I never thought I would be so happy to have divorced parents...Yes, my parents were no longer together and that may be sad, but I realized my family had only expanded. Now I have two sets of amazing parents who are always supportive and loving. I also have some of the most beautiful, hilarious and downright amazing siblings I could have ever asked for. And the only reason these people are in my life now? Because my parents decided to divorce." -Mary Carpenter
4. Your parents' divorce and remarriages may be difficult to adjust to -- and that's totally OK.
"The first thing I'd suggest would be to remember that this is hard. Your parent is marrying someone new and your family just got bigger with some weird, new people! But I would also say that your parent chose this person to spend the rest of their life with and that's worth at least trying to make it work, as long as no one's being cruel to you or anyone else. " -Molly Walter
5. Your parents make mistakes. Learn from them.
6. It's worth giving your stepparent a chance.
"[Growing up], one of my chores was to go out with my stepdad and gather wood for the wood stove. We had to do this generally once a week and it was almost always just my stepdad and me. We would take an old truck and drive to a pile of wood which we gathered over the summer on the opposite end of the house. We would then fill up the truck and take it to the front of the house, under the porch where we would store it for immediate use. When he and I were out there, we would talk about everything from school and sports, to girls and manhood. He also let me drive the truck, which was one of my first experiences behind the wheel. At the time I hated going out in the cold and gathering wood, but looking back on it now, I would not have traded it for anything. I would not be where I am now without my stepdad." -Justin Satzman
7. Somewhere down the line, you just might be amazed at how well both sides of your family get along.
"What makes me the proudest of my family is how well we’ve all adapted. It’s not weird at all for my mom to have my dad over for dinner and vice versa, or for us all to be at a function for my nephew together. This past winter, we had some crazy snow and ice storms and my dad’s house lost power for a few days. I was talking to my mom and just casually mentioned how he didn’t have power, and unbeknownst to me, my mom text my dad telling him that he and Rich [his partner] were welcome to stay with her or at least come over for some wine. A few hours later, my mom and dad drunk dialed me asking me to be the maid of honor in their upcoming wedding." -Kara Sarvey
8. At the end of the day, remember that you're still just a kid.
If you'd like your own family to be featured on Blended Family Friday, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're looking forward to hearing your story!
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