Friday, July 4, 2014

Talking to your children about step-grandparents and families

One day, my daughters will ask me why I don't call their Vovo (maternal grandfather) "dad" or why my husband doesn't call their Grandma (paternal grandmother) "mom." That's because we come from blended families, and that makes things a little complicated. I gained a step-family through divorce and eventually lost my dad to cancer, and my husband gained a step-family when his father became a widower (also due to cancer).

When we started our family it was very hard for my husband and I to wrap our minds (and hearts) around the fact that our children wouldn't have complete sets of biological grandparents; and it's taken many years for both of us to simply accept that sometimes life deals you shit cards and that's just the way it goes. It was an extremely difficult and long road towards acceptance, even love. Blending families, especially during the teenage and adult years, has many difficulties that I can't even begin to imagine were laid upon our parents, but it definitely has a huge impact on the children (my generation) as well.  We are now blessed that we all get along extremely well and can call upon our extended families whenever we need them.  So how does one explain this, tactfully, to your children when they start to ask? Many parents of our generation will have this problem as so many of us are children of divorce.

While I definitely don't have the perfect answer (maybe someday I will), and how my heart aches that my children won't know their DziaDzia (my dad) or Grandma (my husband's mom), there's certainly a whole lot of good that blossomed from a difficult situation too. Both of our families doubled in the wake of The Blend, and now instead of my kids having 4 aunts and uncles, they now have 8. That means twice (or more!) as many cousins. Family get-togethers are crazy and it seems like each person is on a different wavelength in life but we have so much to share. Honestly, the grandbabies are what ties us all together. Until we became aunts and uncles to each other's children, there was mostly ambivalence between the step-siblings. Once the little kids starting rolling out we all grew so much closer and make an effort to see each other and spend time together outside of the holidays. And for that, I feel truly blessed. Life doesn't always deal you aces, but I feel that at least for me, my life turned out pretty swell.

I love you all the same, by Donna Keith, is a great resource for teaching children about love's endurance even when your family may not be your "blood" family. It teaches children to appreciate each individual's differences and recognize similarities that make a family a whole unit. It appeals to blended families, adoption, even new sibling addition.

As you read through each bear cub shares his and her special talent or characteristic that makes them unique and special, and in the end they tie together as a family with a mama and daddy who love them equally and honors their differences. Penny is still a little young to truly understand the take-away lesson of this story, but it has given me some ideas on how to explain the situation to her when she is older.

Do you come from a blended family? 
How will you tell your children about the story of how you gained step-parents and step-siblings?

Win it!
Thomas Nelson is a Christian publisher that includes books for kids and teens.  One Pierogie Mama reader will win a copy of I Love You All the Same! Check out how to win below.

Disclosure: I am a Tommy Nelson Mommy and I was provided the books below for review.  All opinions are my own. 


  1. I would LOVE to win this ! such a great book to read to my kids!

  2. I entered both this giveaway and the candle giveaway!! would LOVE to win both....smelling yummy candles burning while reading the kiddos a book sounds like a perfect night to me!

  3. My husband has a step-grandma, making her obviously the great-grandma to our kids. My 3 year old son doesn't know any difference. To him, she is just grandma, and there is nothing wrong with that.



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