Students grow closer after their families combine

After years of living together in a blended family siblings grow closer as step-siblings


By Steven Curto

Over the course of nine years, junior Emma Smith and senior Alec Schiffman have developed a close relationship as siblings. “Our family has grown very close and I consider my step brothers just as close to me as I consider my blood brother,” said Emma Smith.

Steven Curto, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

Waking up in a rush in the morning, senior Alec Schiffman and junior Emma Smith get dressed and hurriedly push past each other as they leave the house to commute to school in separate cars. While many students attend school with their biological siblings, a few students attend the same high school as their non biological siblings. These select few students encounter this experience daily from living in a blended family.

A blended family consists of a married couple and their children from all previous marriages that have combined and now live together.

By Andrew Tow
Ever since the third grade, sophomores Makenna Kacsir and Taylor Huddleston have lived together after their parents got married.

Living in a blended family can produce some unusual challenges. For Smith, these challenges were presented with learning and adapting to her new stepmother’s rules and parenting style.

“At first dealing with my stepparent and understanding that they have different rules was a bit challenging at first. As time went on my stepparent got more lenient and trusted us more than they did in the beginning,” Smith said.

Along with the struggles of a blended family comes the compromises that one has to make with their siblings. For sophomore Makenna Kacsir, these compromises consist of working on communication between her and her new stepsister, sophomore Taylor Huddleston.

“At first [Huddleston] would take my clothes without asking, and she would bring them to her mom’s house which was annoying if I wanted to wear the item of clothing she took,” Kacsir said.

For some families like the Smith-Schiffman family, bonding was a little rocky at the beginning of the marriage so they came up with activities to do to get to know each other and spend more time together.

“We play board games together as a family, and we all eat dinner together and that’s one of the main ways that we bond,” Schiffman said.

“Family dinners and playing Cards Against Humanity has also become one of my favorite family activities that we do.”

The Gustafson-Scheelk family that includes freshman Brooks Scheelk and sophomore Greyden Gustafson enjoys being a blended family, but making choices on food has not always been something that brought them happiness.

“Having a large blended family makes it difficult to make decisions on certain things like where to eat,” Gustafson said.

By Andrew Tow
The bond between freshman Brooks Scheelk and sophomore Greyden Gustafson has strengthened since the two families have joined together.

The transition from the start of the marriage to present day has changed drastically for each student with a blended family. This change was particularly extreme for Scheelk who found it difficult to bond with his new siblings at first, but through family activities became closer to them.

“In the beginning when our parents first got married is was a little awkward for me and my siblings since we didn’t really know each other that well,” Scheelk said. “[Now] as a family, and as siblings, [Gustafson and I] have grown very close since the start of the marriage.”

After living in a blended family for nearly six years, Huddleston described her experience of living in a blended family as enjoyable and extremely interesting.

“It’s very fun to share a room and have another sibling that’s around your age that you can talk to and hangout with,” Huddleston said. “[Kacsir] and I have really bonded and grown as siblings and that’s a very cool experience to have with someone.”

Encountering certain situations in life that are unexpected like a divorce, or a death in the family can be very challenging to overcome and persevere through. Smith-Schiffman family has persevered through living in a blended family.

“Living in a blended family, in the beginning it took a bit of time to overcome the new parenting styles that our new step parent, or parents, used,” Smith said. “Our parents eventually compromised and mixed together their parenting styles over time, naturally.”

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