Stepfamilies and second families

A stepfamily is where 2 families come together, whether they live in the same house or not. When 2 families combine as second families, everyone needs to adjust. But we can help.

life in a stepfamily

It's normal to be worried about adjusting to a stepfamily. Some people adjust easily, but others find it hard to fit in. 

When families come together, you have to learn to cope with stepparents, stepbrothers and stepsisters. You might feel pressured to be a 'perfect family', but it takes time to get to know each other. 

If you're having problems adjusting, we've got some advice to help. 

3 things to remember:

  • it can take time to adjust to your new family
  • it can help to talk about how you feel
  • we're here if you need advice or support.

things you might worry about

Becoming part of a stepfamily can be scary. You might be worried about:

  • moving house or school
  • new and unfamiliar ways of doing things at home
  • being expected to do different household tasks
  • having less privacy – maybe even sharing a bedroom
  • being pushed out or losing other family members.

It's natural to feel scared or uneasy when there are lots of changes going on. But there are things you can do to help:

  • give yourself time to adjust
  • let them know if you're worried
  • explain that you're not used to the new way of doing things
  • if you don't feel able to talk to them, try talking to us about what's going on.

feeling different

Living in a stepfamily is different for everyone, there isn't one example to describe what it's like. It's important not to compare yourself to other families, because everyone is different.

If you're having problems settling in with a new stepfamily, you might feel lonely and isolated, or like you have no one to talk to. It could help to visit our message boards and chat to other young people in the same situation.

Remember, you can always talk to us about how you feel.

support if your family setup changes

It can be really hard to adjust to change. But that's why it's a really good idea to talk about it.

Talk to your mum or dad
It's a big time of change for your parent or carer as well. It can help if you talk to them and share your feelings.

Plan activities together
Organising family outings and activities to do together can also be a good way to bond, and help you find common ground with your stepfamily.

Try a sport, go sightseeing, or go for a family walk. It can help ease tensions and strengthen relationships.