- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Books

• "Developing Healthy Stepfamilies: Twenty Families Tell Their Stories," by Patricia Kelley, Harrington Park Press, 1996. The profiles of step-families illustrate techniques used to solve common problems that crop up with different parenting styles.

• "The Family Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together: A Guide to Parenting the Blended Family," by Nancy Palmer and William Palmer, Pinon Press, 1996. This book focuses on dealing with ex-spouses, assorted relatives, friends and ideas for making the transition as smooth as possible for the children involved.

• "Step-by-Step Parenting: A Guide to Successful Living With a Blended Family," by James D. Eckler, Betterway Publications, 1993.

• "I Was My Mother's Bridesmaid: Young Adults Talk About Thriving in a Blended Family," by Erica Celeste Carlisle, Wildcat Canyon Press, 1999. This book can help adults see how their behavior affects children. It is helpful for stepparents who want to improve communication with their children.

• "Making Peace in Your Stepfamily," by Dr. Harold Bloomfield and Robert Kory, Hyperion, 1999. Based on anecdotes and a common-sense approach to communication, the book offers suggestions for working through the difficulties that step-families often encounter in the first years of a new marriage.

• "Stepmotherhood: How to Survive without Feeling Frustrated, Left Out or Wicked," by Cherie Burns, Harper Collins, 1986. The author, a stepmother and mother addresses the range of issues many stepmothers face.

• "Stepfamily Problems: How to Solve Them," by Tom Frydenger and Adrienne Frydenger, Baker Book House, 1997. Writing from the experience of their own blended family, the authors zero in on how to handle resentment, both from the point of view of the child and the adult.

• "Becoming a Stepfamily: Patterns of Development in Remarried Families," by Patricia L. Papemow, Analytic Press, 1998. Although written for professionals, the book is an easy read and provides a basic understanding of family dynamics that nonprofessionals will find helpful.

• "Blending Families: A Guide for Parents, Stepparents and Everyone Building a Successful New Family," by Elaine Fantle Shomberg, Berkley Publishing Group, 1999. This book offers advice based on real-life stories of families who have gone through the stepparenting process.

• "Becoming Family: How to Build a Stepfamily That Really Works," by Robert H. Lauer and Jeannette Lauer, Augsburg Fortress Publishing, 1999. The authors offer an upbeat look at step-families and include resources to help make the new family relationships work.

• "Stepfamily Realities: How to Overcome Difficulties and Have a Happy Family," by Margaret Newman, New Harbinger Publications, 1994. This book provides practical information on coping with step-family issues.

Organizations

• Stepfamily Foundation Inc., 333 W. End Ave., New York, N.Y. 10023. Phone: 212/877-3244. Web site: www.stepfamily.org. The nonprofit group offers counseling by phone or in person on step-family issues.

• Stepfamily Association of America, 650 J St., Suite 206, Lincoln, Neb. 68508. Phone: 800/735-0329. Web site: www.stepfam.org. The nonprofit group provides education, counseling resources and access to support groups for step-families. The educational program is based on the book "Stepfamilies Stepping Ahead: An 8-Step Program for Successful Family Living," by Mala Burt.

On line

• Visit http://stepparenting.about.com to read articles about stepparenting. Among the topics covered are how to introduce potential stepparents to children and advice on setting up family meetings.

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