September 16th is Stepfamily Day!
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and to celebrate this, Stepfamily Day was created, and is celebrated each year on September 16th.
Blended families are more common now than ever. Chances are high you know a stepchild or stepparent, or perhaps you're one yourself! Of course, many people choose not to use the prefix "step" when addressing themselves or another family member. The choice is a personal one.
For some people, addressing a stepparent as their parent or a stepchild as their child is one of the many ways to try to create distance from old, negative stereotypes. Read any fairytales, anyone? Folklore is riddled with terrible portraits of stepmothers, in particular.
Even today, many stepparents do not receive the respect they deserve. Several polls have found that only a very small percentage of stepmothers receive an acknowledgement on Mother's Day.
There's no one approach to stepparenting. Most of us, even if we aren't in such a role, recognize the complexities that may arise. Therefore, there are many organizations and people who've devoted themselves to providing support to such parents and families. One resource is the stepfamilies website, which can be accessed by clicking here.
There's an insightful essay (and a wonderful photograph that accompanies it) called 'Three Fathers' by Ann Patchett that gives us a peek at the blended family experience. She re-wrote this piece for her most recent collection of essays, titled These Precious Days, which was published in late 2021. She writes about her experience with these three men in her life after they all died.
There are many other stories about stepfamilies in literature and film. Some classics include:
- The Brady Bunch
- The Parent Trap
- The Sound of Music
- Step Brothers
Are you a stepchild? Stepparent? Do you know a stepparent who would benefit from some recognition?
Celebrate Stepfamily Day on September 16th by spending some time with your family, especially outdoors. Write a card or letter expressing what they mean to you, share a funny or touching memory, and let them experience love through words, gifts, and quality time together.
We hope you take some time to honour the loved ones in your life this week. It's always a good time to give others a lift and express kindness.