4 Events Every Step-family Should Know About

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holiday gatherings can be a difficult time for members of step-families because, as they are currently celebrated, they are designed to bring biological family members - and mutually agreed upon friends - together. The step-family is somewhat fragmented; causing the very holiday designed to foster closeness to cause a further divide among it's members. Step-families could benefit from participating in events that cause them to connect as a unit. The following "holidays'" may aid step-families, and couples, in their plight for closeness by giving them something to work toward together.

1. National Marriage Week February 7-14, 2014

"National Marriage Week is a collaborative campaign to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children." [ National Marriage Week website]
National Marriage Week was created to strengthen individual marriages and doesn't by definition exclude a remarriage/step-family. Couples who remarry and those who are in a step-family run a higher risk of divorce so it benefits, communities, churches and organizations to support, encourage and help them to survive. It's also not good for a child's stability and mental health to tag along with a parent who struggles with serial monogamy, therefore it is good for remarried couples and couples whose marriage resulted in a step-family to participate in efforts like National Marriage Week to strengthen the marriage they are currently in.

For more information on how your church, organization, or support group can participate in National Marriage Week or to find ideas on how you can participate as a couple go to Nationalmarriageweekusa.org .

2. Black Marriage Day March 23, 2014

Source: YouTube: Latrice McFadden, Black Marriage Day. Published March 9, 2013 Video length 3:21

Black Marriage Day was started in Washington, DC by the Wedded Bliss Foundation. It is a community based organization that helps teens, singles and couples develop healthy relationships and healthy marriages to improve their lives, better the outcomes for children, and create stronger families.

The Wedded Bliss Foundation is doing work that is much needed within the community it serves. In 2011 Pew Research & Social Demographic Trends released findings in A Portrait of Stepfamilies that stated the following:

  • In 1960 61% of blacks ages 18 or older were married; by 2008 only 32% were married
  • Among black adults interviewed in the Pew Research survey, 60% have at least one step relative
  • 1 in 4 black men (24%) say they have a step-child, compared with 14% of  black women
                                                                                                                    Full survey found here.

Black Marriage Day not only gives couples who fall within the aforementioned demographic an empowering platform, it also educates them and helps them to hold their current marriage up to their children and step-children in a positive light. Which in turn helps to strengthen their family structure.

For more information about how to hold a Black Marriage Day event and/or where events are taking place go to www.blackmarriageday.com. To contact the Wedded Bliss Foundation go to www.weddedblissinc.com

3. Parental Alienation Awareness Day April 25, 2014

Source YouTube: PAAO2005 Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting. Uploaded July 20, 2008

Parental Alienation, as defined by the Free Medical Dictionary by Farlex, is a social dynamic, generally linked to divorce or separation, in which a child expresses unjustified hatred, or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible.

As many step-families will attest, when a stepchild is not allowed to spend quality time with a biological parent it makes it difficult for the child to have a relationship with that parent. It has negative effects on the development of the step-family in which the biological parent would like to include the child. However, biological parents who are alienated from their children, and the step-families that the alienation impacts are no longer suffering in silence. They are raising awareness about this issue and it is gaining worldwide participation.

Edward Krunk, PhD stated the following in an article published April 24, 2013 by Psychology Today, titled The Impact Of Parental Alienation On Children:
"Every child has the fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents, and to be denied that right by one parent, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is in itself a form of child abuse." Read the whole article on the Psychology Today website.

Step-family members and alienated parents can find more information about Parental Alienation and how to get involved in raising awareness at the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization website.

4. National Stepfamily Day September 16, 2014

National Step-family Day was started by Christy Borgeld in 1997. Christy is also the founder of the National Stepfamily Day Foundation whose mission states they have a "...strong commitment to support the stepfamilies of our nation in their mission to raise their children, create strong family structures to support the individual members of the family [as well as] instill in them a sense of responsibility to all extended family members". Stepfamilies participate in picnics and outdoor fun together on National Stepfamily Day. They are even encouraged to host a Stepfamily Day Picnic of their own and/or partner with an organization to host one.

The foundations Facebook fan page holds information on how to get involved in a step-family support group and can be found on the National Stepfamily Day Foundation's Facebook fan page..

Honorable Mentions

Other lesser known Step-family events such as Stepmother's Day is the week after Mother's day
(Read more about Stepmother's Day here.). However, there is still a bit of a debate about when Stepfather's Day is to take place - the same day as Father's Day or the week after.

Whether or not a step-family participates in the aforementioned holidays, it remains important for them to continue to find creative ways to celebrate their uniqueness, build a healthy relationship with one another and gain the appropriate support as they do so.

Tell BFM how your step-family celebrated one of these holidays last year the comment section below!

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