Next Step 4 Stepfamilies

UW-Extension is excited to offer a new program to stepfamilies in Pepin County. This program is designed to offer:

  • Families ~ a process to work through change and to form a healthy identity, rules and expectations, and nurturing relationships.
  • Children ~ skills and strategies to help contribute to a positive stepfamily experience AND to manage one family among multiple households.
  • Parents ~ skills and strategies to protect and strengthen their couple relationship AND to develop positive, healthy family relationship between adults and children.
  • All family members ~ tools for optimal communication, managing conflict and problem solving.

In a comfortable setting, families can expect to:

  • learn in interactive and fun ways
  • meet other stepfamilies
  • learn with peers for a part of the time and learn together with their family a part of the time
  • enjoy a family meal
  • gain skills and understanding for a healthier and stronger family

Please consider joining us for an afternoon that will be lively and informative for parents and children/youth of stepfamilies. Families will learn while having fun together.

Additional programs will be offered at other times and locations. Be sure to check back on this web site for updated information.

* (Scholarships are available ~ please contact the Pepin County UW-Extension Office for more information)

For more information, please call the Pepin County UW-Extension Office at 715-672-5214.

Use the form below to register for a class – or call the Pepin County UW-Extension Office at 715-672-5214.

Next Steps 4 Stepfamilies Brochure ( 2 pages, pdf)

Next Steps 4 Stepfamilies Registration Form ( 1 page, .doc)

How do stepfamilies benefit from this program?

Your UW-Extension instructors have earned national certification in stepfamily education, and with their experience and training, have carefully designed a program to meet the complex and unique needs of stepfamilies in Buffalo and Pepin Counties. Materials and activities are based on research and experience from national leader in the study of stepfamily health and dynamics.

Above all else, the most important benefit of educational programming is that family members understand the fundamental characteristics of stepfamilies. This alone will increase healthy relationship development between all family members.

Families who participate report a greater overall family satisfaction with stronger and healthier relationships, and less family stress and conflict.

Couples strengthen their relationship, which increases the likelihood of a long-lasting and satisfying life together.

Children contribute in positive ways to the formation and functioning of a healthy stepfamily.

Did you know . . .

  • Nearly half of all families in Buffalo and Pepin Counties are stepfamilies.
  • Stepfamilies are more complex than first families, and operate differently in many ways.
  • New relationships among family members take time to blossom and often need education and support to make happen.
  • Stepparenting develops much differently from parenting; understanding the factors and forces helps adults and youth toward positive development.
  • Children have concerns about how a new stepparent relationship may/will affect their relationship with their original parent.
  • Children have difficulty managing one family among multiple households.
  • The marital relationship in a stepfamily is vulnerable to many forces, and requires special attention, protection and skill development in order to be strong and successful.
  • Families who participate in an education program enjoy greater overall family satisfaction, reporting less family stress and conflict with stronger, healthier relationships.
  • Stepfamily research suggests that family integration most likely takes as long as the age of the child.
  • As of 2006, there were more subsequent marriages than first-family marriages in Buffalo County.

Check out these links for additional information and resources for stepfamilies:

These are resources directed toward children and young adults about stepfamilies:

A Stepkids’ Bill of Rights (.pdf) acknowledges the “rights” stepchildren have as members of a stepfamily.

Children tell about some positives and negatives about living in a stepfamily. Can you name some of your own “gifts” or “gripes” (.pdf) about stepfamilies?

One way to think about stepfamilies is like anice cream party (.pdf). There are many ways to have a strong and happy stepfamily – is your family a “swirl”, a “smoothie”, a “sundae”, or your own ice cream concoction?

Stepfamily research tells us that that most significant information that benefits stepfamilies is to understand the most common stepfamily characteristics. This resource shares the “Top Ten Common Stuff about Stepfamilies” (.pdf) from the eyes of a young person.

Web sites about stepfamilies for children and young adults:

Books about stepfamilies for children and young adults:

How Do I Feel About My StepfamilyJulie Johnson, J. (2005).How do I feel about My Stepfamily. Mankato, MN: Stargazer Books.
Jessica’s Two FamiliesHugo, L. (2005). Jessica’s Two Families. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon Press.
Jigsaw Puzzle Family: The Stepkids’ Guide to Fitting It TogetherMacGregor, C. (2005). Jigsaw Puzzle Family: The Stepkids’ Guide to Fitting It Together. Atascadero, CA: Impact Publishers.
I was my Mother’s Bridesmaid: young adults talk about thriving in a blended familyCarlisle, E. & Carlisle, V. (1999). I was my Mother’s Bridesmaid: young adults talk about thriving in a blended family. Berkely, CA: Wildcat Canyon Press.
Stepliving for Teens: Getting Along with Stepparents, Parents and SiblingsBlock, J. D.& Bartell, S. S. (2001). Stepliving for Teens: Getting Along with Stepparents, Parents, and Siblings. New York, NY: Price Stern Sloan.
Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or TwoRicci, I. (2006). Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two. New York, NY: Fireside Publishers.
HELP! A Girl’s Guide to Divorce and StepfamiliesPleasant Company Publications, ed. (1999).HELP! A Girl’s Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications.

Movies about stepfamilies:

StepmomColumbus, C. (Director). (1999). Stepmom. [Motion Picture]. United States: Sony Pictures.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling PantsKwapis, K. (Director). (2005). The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Home Video.
Yours, Mine, & OursGosnell, R. (Director). (2005). Yours, Mine, & Ours. [Motion Picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.
Man of the HouseOrr, J. (Director). (1995). Man of the House. [Motion Picture]. United States: Walt Disney Video.


Mary Wood, M.S. ~ Buffalo & Pepin Counties Family Living Agent

Annie Hobson, B.S. ~ Buffalo County Youth Development Educator

Marie Ritscher, M.S. ~ Pepin County 4-H Youth Development Agent