The Benefits of Blended Families

Modern FamilyJoseph Cultice/Corbis Outline (9)Looks like real life: TV's blended Modern Family
Nearly six million families include a stepparent, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data — and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says stepmother and author Janice Van Dyck. The positives of blended families? Read on.

Stepkids tell the truth.
For better or worse, “stepkids are more likely to be honest about what’s wrong with your parenting style,” says Van Dyck. “If you listen to them, you might find they’re right about how you could be more effective.”

Marriage No. 2 can be a better model.
“Your kids have been through divorce, and you can be sure they learned something — not always positive — about intimate relationships,” she says. When parents are in a more positive marriage, they have “the energy to be better role models for negotiation, forgiveness, generosity, and love.”

Kids get a broader worldview.
Every kid’s upbringing seems normal to him or her; all families are different in how they function day to day. “It’s a shock when a kid goes off to college and finds out how other people live,” notes Van Dyck. “Stepfamilies can stretch a kid’s thinking and give him or her a stronger sense of self in the world.”

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