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Stepfamilies come together when parents marry again or live with a new partner. It can also mean that children from different families end up living together for all or part of the time.

Stepfamilies - image of a family paper chain held up to the skyWhat's like being in a stepfamily?

There isn't one example that can be used to describe what living in a stepfamily is like. It can be different for everyone. Some people find it hard whilst others adjust very easily.

It's normal for there to be some problems adjusting to a stepfamily. Learning to cope with stepparents, stepbrothers and stepsisters can be a difficult and lonely experience. There can be pressure to be a 'perfect family', but it takes time to get to know one another. If you are finding it very difficult getting on with your new family, you don't have to worry about it on your own. You could try talking to your parents about how you feel or call ChildLine free on 0800 1111.

  • These are just some of the things that can cause problems:

    - You may have to move house or even schools.
    - There may be different rules and ways of doing things in your new family.
    - You might have to eat different kinds of food.
    - There may be changes about when homework is done or what household tasks you might be expected to do.
    - Family holidays, Christmas and other religious festivals might be celebrated in different ways.
    - You may have less privacy; for example, sharing a bedroom, or not having somewhere quiet to do homework or just be alone.

  • I feel like I'm the only one with stepfamily problems, what can I do?

    There are lots of young people going through this time of change and if you are finding it difficult, it's important to know that you are not the only one. Why not visit the family relationship message board and chat to other young people in the same situation?

    Talking about how you feel can really help you feel better. You can call us and talk to us about the things that are worrying you, no matter what they are. Call childLine free on 0800 1111 or through 1-2-1 chat online (works like instant messenger).

Other sites that can help

Common questions and answers from young people with stepfamilies who are adopting them.
I'm getting a new family (CAFCASS)

Support and advice for people affected by divorce.
Divorce Aid



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