As Father's Day approaches, many of us have more than one man to remember. Check out this great piece by law professor Naomi Cahn and minister Amy Ziettlow on stepfathers. They share examples of strong blended families—and three great insights on how the stepfathers helped them get there.
As their research and that of others shows, in happy blended families, the stepparent takes the lead in creating a positive relationship with his partner's children. This can seem difficult, but as Cahn and Ziettlow point out, some of what's necessary is pretty basic. As they write, "the key to establishing strong, life-long bonds between generations is “warmth.”
Warmth from biological parents matters, too. While remarriage can put pressure on newly blended families, it can also place stress on a relationship between kids and their biological father. As I was reading their post, I found myself thinking about my relationship with my ex-stepfather and my father—and wanting to make sure to honor them both this Sunday.
More than 40% of Americans have at least one step-relative in their family.
As Father's Day approaches, this is a great time to take a step back, assess our relationships, and honor all the parental types in our lives, and in the lives of our children. Read Cahn and Ziettlow's great advice here.
Read more about blended families:
Wendy Paris is the author of Splitopia: Dispatches from Today's Good Divorce and How to Part Well (Simon & Schuster/Atria, 2016).