Stepfamilies, which are sometimes referred to as blended families, are an increasingly common family structure across the world. As of 2011, over 1.3 million households belonged to blended families in the United States alone.1
Yet despite this familial structure's increasing prevalence in society, families may still struggle to adjust to blended family life.
Although the label of 'stepfamily' or 'blended family' seems to be a neat categorization, in reality, stepfamilies can be formed in many different ways. One or both parents in a stepfamily may have lost a former spouse or partner through either divorce or a death. Both parents may also have children from their previous relationships, and blended families often welcome additional siblings to the fold.
For parents whose previous relationships ended in divorce, they will most likely have to navigate co-parenting with their former partner in addition to managing the needs of their blended family.
And when both parents in a blended family have co-parents? Trying to stay on top of parenting schedules, shared expenses, and other communication needs can easily become a source of frustration and conflict.
A simple task, like finding out when the child’s last tetanus shot was, can become an organizational nightmare. More complicated issues, like setting up plans for the holidays, can seem nearly impossible. OurFamilyWizard can help to dramatically reduce the confusion and difficulties that come with managing a blended or stepfamily.
Accounts for the entire family
Being able to easily keep everyone in the loop is vital for blended families. Without the means to update parents, stepparents, and co-parents about important events and changes to the schedule, a family cannot hope to keep things running smoothly.
OurFamilyWizard has different account types that are perfectly suited to individual family members needs and responsibilities. That means that blended families can rely on everyone being in the right place at the right time.
Co-parents have the most complex accounts, with options to create parenting schedules, submit parenting time modification requests, track shared parenting expenses, share important documents, and much more.
Bonus parents can be allowed limited access to OFW activity by either co-parent through the creation of a third-party account. This account type, which is also a great option for extended family members, allows bonus parents to review the parenting schedule, check events, create journal entries, and message the other family members on OFW.
Learn more about account types on OurFamilyWizard
Tools for every situation
Co-parenting with a blended family requires juggling different schedules, staying on top of children's schooling and medical needs, and handling unexpected changes with efficiency and cooperation.
That's a tall order, no matter the family's level of organization, and having the right tools at your fingertips can be instrumental in resolving particularly tough situations.
If families are exclusively using email and text messages for their co-parenting, they're forcing generic platforms to accommodate very specialized communication. Relying on email or texts to handle expense reimbursement requests, to request parenting time modifications, or to share a child's important medical records can quickly make a mess of things.
Instead, blended families deserve a full suite of tools designed specifically to handle the many unique situations encountered when co-parenting.
Explore the specialized co-parenting tools available on OurFamilyWizard
Blended family communication
Stepfamilies have their own unique needs and stresses. New partner introductions, blended family bonding, adjusting to new living arrangements: these life events require careful preparation and consideration from parents and their significant others.
Explore the OFW blog for more about blended family communication strategies