Posted by Jemma Breban on 21st December 2011

Your mum or dad might form a serious relationship or marry someone who already has his or her own children. Together you form a new step-family. Lots of families live this way today and you probably already know people at school who have step-brothers and sisters.

Sometimes your parent’s new partner moves into your home and brings his or her children with them and sometimes you might visit your step-family when your other parent starts living with someone new. If both your mum and dad meet new people you could share your time equally between two step-families.

You may find you settle in quite quickly to life with your new step-family – but you could also find it really hard to adapt. Here are a few tips to make it easier.

  • Remember no family is ‘perfect’ there will always be arguments and problems but they can be overcome.
  • Try to give your step-brothers and sisters a chance. This will help you all get along in the long run.
  • See if you can sit down as a family and agree your new rules. You can even write them down so everyone can see them.
  • Ask your mum or dad to make sure you get some private space. Even if you have to share a room, a cupboard with a lock may be enough.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell your mum or dad if you are unhappy. Talking about it can make things better.
  • If you can’t speak to your family, speak to a relative, teacher or counsellor. Or look for a young people’s helpline.
  • Suggest doing something fun as a family together, spending time with your new family will help you get to know them.
  • Give it time. Step-families are complicated and it will take time for everyone to get used to it.

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