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by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Einstein, MA, LMFT

Active Parenting for Stepfamilies - a program for better parenting within a blended family

Getting married is the easy part! When a stepfamily is formed, everyone needs to learn new rules: Mom and Dad need to learn how to work together as a team. Children and teens must adapt to changes. To avoid potential problems, everyone needs to build good relationships with new family members, which can often be challenging. The following program is designed by Active Parenting as a program guide to making stepfamilies work.

Active Parenting for Stepfamilies is here to help! Use this new video-based discussion program to help couples work together to raise children within the challenging stepfamily environment. With this program, you will learn solid step-family parenting advice and parenting tips such as when and how to use powerful communication and negotiation skills to strengthen marriage and family. Designed both for parents and stepparents, Active Parenting for Stepfamilies is a great resource for foster parents, adoptive parents, single parents and others affected by loss and change. The program combines the knowledge of Active Parenting author Michael Popkin and stepfamily expert Elizabeth Einstein.

Different parenting class formats will help you reach different groups!
Need a shorter step-parenting class? A "lunch & learn" version of the program is available so you can provide one-topic classes in under an hour. Mix and match the topics as needed for blended family advice and quick tips.

The information is also available in a series of 6 self-contained DVDs that parents can watch at their leisure...perfect for resource libraries. Our informational DVDs offer blended family parenting tips and act as resources for becoming a better parent. You can even arrange for broadcast rights or to offer an online video library to reach thousands of parents in their own homes!

Leader training will enhance your effectiveness
Although the Leader's Guide provides step-by-step instructions, you may benefit from a Leader Training Workshop (LTW). At the LTW, an experienced parent educator will tell you what works and what doesn't.

Here’s what you’ll teach in each session:

Session I: Stepfamily Living - A Different Parenting Challenge
– Emotional baggage
– Coping with loss
– Realistic expectations within blended families
– Styles of parenting
– Relationship-building skills

Session II: Communication and Problem-Solving
– Roles of stepparents in a blended family
– Effective communication tips
– A model for handling stepfamily-specific problems
– Making stepfamilies work better

Session III: Loyalties and Values
– Merging different values and cultures within a blended family
– Establishing limits (of space, time, authority, money)
– Understanding triangles/loyalty conflicts

Session IV: The Challenge of Discipline
– Effective, nonviolent discipline
– Logical consequences
– Stepfamily considerations
– Kids who live in two households
– Blended family parenting tips

Session V: From Power Struggles and Anger to Courage and Self-Esteem
– The “FLAC” method of defusing power struggles
– Building courage and self-esteem
– Understanding children's anger
– Nurturing by encouragement

Session VI: Celebrating Stepfamily Successes
– Making a conscious commitment
– Celebrating your achievements
– Maintaining stepfamily success
– Protecting children from risks

Winner! Bronze Telly Award

How to be a better parent within the blended family dynamic from Active Parenting

Active Parenting for Stepfamilies
Standard Program Kit

Need proof?

Click here for research on the proven effectiveness of Active Parenting, the program on which Active Parenting for Stepfamilies is based.

"Another good resource for community support groups."
-Library Journal, 04/01/09

"Finally, two of the top experts teaching easy-to-learn, practical stepfamily and parenting skills! This should be required for anyone in a stepfamily or anyone even considering remarriage with children."
-Diane Sollee, MSW
Founder and Director, Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education (SmartMarriages.com)

"A must-have teaching tool for the creation of successful stepfamilies."
-Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD
Time for a Better Marriage

Preview the materials free for 30 days!

This stepfamilies and blended families parenting program
is available in 4 convenient formats.

Choose the ones that suit your needs! Click on the title for more information or to order.

Program Kit
All you need for a highly effective video-and-discussion program.

Video Library
A series of 6 closed-captioned DVDs for your library or resource center.

Lunch & Learn
An easy way to offer a series of very short classes.

Short Course
Offer key concepts in just 3 sessions.

Downloadable materials can be found by clicking here.