Step Families


Current estimates are that close to sixty percent of the families in the United States are stepfamilies.

This Instructor Handbook is intended for those working with Stepfamilies.

There are wonderful examples in every community of stepfamilies that have worked well and produced skilled and healthy children. There are also many stepfamilies in every community looking for the path towards health while feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or disorganized. The materials in this Handbook are offered as additional resources for Stepfamilies along with the skills to use them effectively. The concepts and skills presented in this Handbook are based on the research of what works for families to be successful and, most specifically, for stepfamilies.

Since 1980, millions of families have taken Family Wellness courses around the world. Many of these families changed their ways of parenting. Others felt supported for the fine job they were doing. Other learned new ideas and practiced new skills to make their jobs easier and more effective. The following is the story of a partner in the Family Wellness family and the main contributor to this Instructor Handbook for Stepfamilies.

My husband and I met in July 1977. He had four children and I had two. The children ranged in age from four to fifteen. We married in 1979 and thought we would be raising his teenaged son and my two young daughters. Six months after we were married we also became responsible for my husband’s eleven-year-old son and twelve year old daughter. Now we were raising five children. There was very little information available in those days about stepfamilies. The Vischers had begun writing and otherwise little research had been done. We were committed to making our family as successful as possible and really didn’t know how to accomplish this.

In 1983, as part of my professional training, we attended a course called Survival Skills for Healthy Families by George Doub and Virginia Morgan Scott. My husband and I learned principals and skills for how to manage our family that have provided a roadmap for family life ever since then. I’m proud to say that we will be married for twenty-four years in December and have thirteen grandchildren, including step-grandchildren. Thank you, Les, for being my loving and supportive life partner.

The following handbook for Family Wellness Instructors is a combination of my professional life as a Health Educator, Clinical Social Worker, and Family Wellness Instructor for twenty years, and Trainer of Instructors for thirteen years. More importantly, my family has forged this knowledge in my heart based on our life histories together. The healing in a stepfamily goes on throughout childhood and adulthood. I want to thank all our children, Erika, Lester, Rebecca, Mark, Nici and Carrie for their part in enriching our lives. I share this information with you because it helped us move beyond survival to thriving. What you will find here is information and skills based on the latest research and presented in a format, which any family, including young children, can understand and use to enrich their lives as a stepfamily. To you, the instructor, I wish you heartfelt thanks for reaching out to stepfamilies.

Flo Creighton