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A blended family of five smiling happily while on the beach.

Step and Blended Families

Smart Steps – Supporting Step-Families

A workshop series designed to assist all parents and step-parents who are adjusting to blended family life. Sessions will be held at Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph on October 14, 2023; March 9, 2024; and May 25, 2024. Price is $50 per person.

Smart Steps - Supporting Step-Families

Congratulations on uniting your love and bringing two families together. While there can be challenges as you adjust to your new and larger family, there can also be an expansion of caring companionship and love.

A step or blended family occurs when one or both spouses bring children from a previous relationship.

You are in a step family if:

  • You are remarried and one or both of you have children (in or out of the home).
  • You are divorced with children and your ex-spouse is remarried
  • Your partner has children (any age counts), even if you don’t
  • You have grandchildren from an adult child who is divorced, remarried, or whose ex-spouse is remarried
  • You have a family member in any of the above situations

There are fundamental differences between a first marriage and a subsequent marriage, but with support a subsequent marriage can thrive.

Often, one or both couples bring children to the marriage which requires specific tools to ensure a smooth transition for all.

Be sure to take the time to learn how to blend your family in a way that will bring the joy you hope for!

Remarrying in the Church

Marriages end because of death or divorce, causing emotional pain for the person left behind. Taking the time to grieve is an important part of the healing journey. After a period of time, new relationships may be started that lead to marriage. When one or both partners come with children, this means the blending of two families.

When a Catholic’s marriage ends, it is important they contact their pastor or the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal to determine whether they will need a declaration of nullity of their marriage before marrying in the Catholic Church. Please take the time to explore this avenue if you have not done so already.

For additional support or to find out when our next course for step/blended families will take place, please contact Teresa Hartnett at 905-528-7988 ext. 2250.

Myths vs. Reality of Step/Blended Families

 Step families should work just like any other family.

Reality: The step family is a different kind of family; it does not function like other families.

 Step parents are cruel and insensitive.

Reality: Step parents share the same human qualities as other adults.

 A step family is created instantly.

Reality: While marriage vows or physically moving two families together into a single household create stability, becoming a happy, loving and functional step family is a gradual, long-term process.

 All step family members should and will love one another.

Reality: It takes time to build caring relationships.

 Step families formed after a death have fewer problems than those formed after a divorce.

Reality: All step families face challenges and painful feelings.

 Part-time step families have it easier than full-time step families.

Reality: When children live between two homes, both families experience stress. Children lose a sense of control, contact, and continuity. The biological parent has lost some status and stability.


Teresa Hartnett


905-528-7988 Ext. 2250
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Sarah Lintott

Office Administrator

905-528-7988 Ext. 2249
Send Email