75 Answers

One Mum has emailed in asking us: “Hi mums, hoping for some assistance. I am engaged and my fiancé has three kids, hence I’m a step mum. How do you explain to an eleven year old that his family dynamics are different and that my family are his “real” aunts, uncles and grandparents? They accept him and his sisters as family and treat them like family. He refers to us mums partners side of the family as “not real”. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.” How would you explain family dynamics to an 11 year old?

Posted By Anon, 02/04/13

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  • I would avoid the use of “real” and “unreal”. At that age, he might take a while to become comfortable with the new situation. I’d use “biological”, “non-biological” and perhaps “family of choice”. Over time he will probably stop making these distinctions.

  • I think these things can take a bit of time. As he gets older he should have a better understanding of it

  • Jus make him feel welcome. He will get it in the end.

  • So many great ideas here.

  • I think it will just take time.

  • It will take time best of luck

  • 11 years old don’t need sugar coating, explain you are in this for the long haul and would love the opportunity to share all your family with him as they would love to have him around. Remind him it’s his choice and it would be sad to let all those people go. And the diagram and an explanation of how everyone fits in would help!

  • A diagram is a good idea to map things out visually if its not quite sinking in verbally.

  • life can get very complicated can’t it?

  • try a diagram of a family tree, but explain a family tree FIRST

  • definatly a family tree its hard for kids to understand gets very confusing

  • It will take time. At the moment to him they are not His real family and this is true but over time he will learn to accept them.

  • I like the idea of a family tree to explain it visually.

  • the family tree diagram is a great way to establish family ties, and its something they can have and hold on to if they need confirmation in the future :D

  • How about making a family tree and explaining it?

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