From Peter Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/sf/help/resources.htm

 For guidelines on selecting useful resources about stepfamilies and re/marriage, read this. To avoid impractical, inaccurate, or toxic stepfamily advice, read this. If you're a media professional, read this.

Note: listing below does not imply endorsement of the opinions and services offered.

To recommend a Web listing or correct a mistake, please use this feedback form.

Read how to pick Self-help Resources that work (different Web site) and/or view this video clip:

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  Stepfamily Organizations and Websites in alphabetic order

American Coalition for Fathers and Children a dedicated site supporting male co-parents.

Bonus Families - a warm, upbeat, supportive site by bonus-Mom Jann Blackstone-Ford. The site  reframes stepfamily relationships and titles as bonuses (e.g. "my bonus daughter" vs. "my stepdaughter" to offset the unpleasant associations with "step") Sections for "ask the Experts," bonus parents, teens, kids, grandparents, "ex mate etiquette," and readings. Email editorial@bonusfamilies.com.

starbullet.gif (854 bytes)  Break the Cycle! A nonprofit educational divorce-prevention site for lay and professional people interested in healing psychological wounds , improving communication effectiveness, and building high-nurturance marriages and families.

        This site offers several hundred research-based articles describing 12 co-parent projects to over-come five causes of epidemic U.S. re/divorce. See this for a link-index of all the free worksheets, quizzes, and checklists in this site. Go here for free discussion groups related to this unique site.

        Site creator, researcher, educator, and therapist Peter Gerlach, MSW, has lived in two stepfamilies, and researched them full time since 1979. He has counseled ~1,000 typical (Midwestern) co-parents since 1981, and is a member of the NSRC Experts Council. Peter has published six unique, practical guidebooks for co-parents and supporters, and provides phone counseling at 1-503-293-8385 (Portland, OR, USA).

Childless Stepmoms - this appears to be a valuable, user-friendly, nonprofit, ad-free site filling where childless stepmoms can meet, affirm, and support each other. The founder is Christina Chopin, a 25-year veteran childless stepmom.

starbullet.gif (854 bytes)  Divorce/step - a helpful site from therapist Michelle Diamond, who specializes in providing "consultation and direct service in the areas of divorce and stepfamilies." Site includes a newsletter, kids place, parent ed., resources, and "Ask Michelle."

GettingRemarried.com is a robust site with many helpful features for re/marriers. Check it out!

starbullet.gif (854 bytes) www.familymedallion.com A warm source of inspiration to help include kids in your re/wedding celebration.

OurFamilyWizard.com - a site for parents in divorced and stepfamilies to help coordinate financial and visitation plans, status and information. Features: the Calendar, the Information Bank, the Expense Log, The Journal, the Message Board, Resources, and E-coupons. 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year memberships available from $55 to $180.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) is sponsored by knowledgeable professionals and volunteers at Auburn University in Alabama.  The NSRC continues the pioneering work begun by the Stepfamily Association of America, which disbanded in 2006. 

Step Carefully - This site and organization were founded by a dedicated step-couple, Bobby and Jo Collins, who formed a stepfamily in 1994. They offer a quarterly newsletter "for and by step(people)", and help in developing local stepfamily support groups, based on their experience facilitating one in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The Stepfamily Foundation - Directed by stepfamily pioneer and author Jeanette Lofas, CSW., the for-profit Foundation provides stepfamily-support materials by mail, professional training, and professional counseling by phone.

The Stepfamily Network (website) - "A non-profit service to step parents, parents, family professionals, and stepchildren. (We are) dedicated to helping stepfamily members achieve harmony and mutual respect in their family lives." Site pages include support, a bookstore,  questions (and answers), letters, articles, and a Kids Korner. Dedicated Webmaster is Tom Wohlmut.

Seattle Stepfamilies - an uncluttered, helpful regional site by veteran stepmom and stepfamily therapist/educator Barbara Perlmutter, MSW. 

Stepfamily Living - Web pages offering stepfamily information and a range of orderable printed resources, by veteran stepfamily clinician, lecturer, and author Elizabeth Einstein.

The StepStop is Australia's first stop to stepfamily information, education, resources and support. TSS is a multi-feature interactive site co-created by Sonja Ridden, featuring articles, step-stories, questions and answers, chat posts, and a free monthly newsletter. Many helpful links to other sites.

StepfamilyZone - Helping stepfamilies in South Australia. An international site created by John Faulkner and his wife, featuring a positive attitude, resource links, educational information, articles, a newsletter, and other help for step people "down under" (and us "up overs"). Worth visiting!

Stepfamilies - "the UK's #1 Website" - a peppy, colorful site co-founded by Maddy and Brian Curtis. The site features sections for mothers, fathers, and chat/chat. Other features are planned. (8/00)

StepfamilyLiving.com - an informative, upbeat Web presence from veteran stepfamily educator and therapist Elizabeth Einstein, MA, MFT.

Stepfamily newsletter from veteran stepmom Karon Goodman. She was the enthusiastic guide for a valuable stepfamily site sponsored by About.com.

starbullet.gif (854 bytes) Stepping Stones Counseling Center, Inc. - "The professionals who understand stepfamilies": Robert Klopfer, L.C.S.W., B.C.D.; and Susan Brettschneider, M.S." 115 Pine St., Ridgewood, NJ, USA; 07450; Voice: 1-(201)-444-3686. The website currently features a newsletter, access to professional counseling, and info on free local workshops.

Stepdads.com is one of the few Website for stepfathers, though there are many good sites for fathers. Tad Benson is the man to talk to.

Second Wives Cafe A warm, humanistic site dedicated since 1997 to providing support, friendship, information, and a haven for "woman in blended-family situations." Membership required for access. Features include a monthly newsletter, chat and message boards, a place for positive feedback about marriage (!), stepfamily articles and links, a book-ordering link... - much to see!

starbullet.gif (854 bytes)  StepTogether.org. A flourishing chat room devoted to stepfamily issues.

Successful Stepfamilies - A rich source of Christian-oriented education for stepfamily co-parents, created and maintained by Rev. Ron L. Deal, M.MFT, and sponsored by the Southwest Church of Christ in Jonesboro, AR. The site is unique in offering an experience-based course for "Building A Successful Stepfamily." Visit the site for information about the course, and related home-study audio cassettes. Voice: 1-870-932-9254.

Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta (Canada) - new in early 2000, and dedicated to the cause. A not-for-profit corporation in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that provides a range of specialized services for stepfamilies; training for professionals who work with stepfamilies; and conducts research into stepfamilies. e-Contact info@stepfamily.ca

Co-family Expressions, Inc. An enthusiastic Website and organization proposing kinder titles for members of stepfamilies - and offering a line of special greeting cards for co-family members. The energy behind this creative effort comes from co-moms Kathy McGrath and Jeannie McDonald - and their supportive co-families.

Divorcesource.com - a comprehensive state-by-state divorce informational network. 

The Positive Way - A wide variety of free resources for people interested in creating healthy, positive, loving relationships. Includes valuable information for singles, marrieds, and stepfamilies. "Learn how to create a great relationship one word at a time."

reminder.gif (128 bytes) If you can recommend other helpful resources, or find that any of this information is wrong, please let me know.

* Listing here does not imply endorsement of the products, services, or ideas at these sites.

  Other Helpful Websites

About.com - a rich source of information and links about stepfamilies, re/marriage, parenting, and many other topics - like Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), one of six common false-self wounds. Search on "stepfamily" for many resources.

BetterDivorce.com: providing helpful divorce, custody, visitation and support information by state.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America - "...is the oldest mentoring organization serving youth in (the U.S.)... BBBSA has provided one-to-one mentoring relationships between adult volunteers and children at risk since 1904. (It) currently serves over 100,000 children and youth in more than 500 agencies throughout the U.S.

DadsRights.org - Promotes quality ("non angry") fathering via support, education, and legislation. Sponsors an annual conference; Extensive online library of fathers' rights and fathering-related topics.

Delos, Inc. This is a useful source of information and international communion on the teachings of psychologists Hal Stone and Sidra Winkleman-Stone. The Stones' books and ideas are helpful for lay and clinical people interested in learning how to work with the ceaseless inner voices we all have. Many aspects of the Stones' model and "Voice Dialog" work complement the inner-family therapy ("parts work") described here in Lesson 1.

Divorcelawinfo.com - a site devoted to guiding visitors to reputable sources of divorce law, on the Net and by U.S. state.

Divorcenet.com - "The Net's largest divorce resource since May 1995." This site has 11 different chat, and a wealth of practical information for divorced, separated, and re/married family members.

 FamilyMedallion.com A warm source of inspiration to help include kids in your re/wedding celebration.

Family Law Source - a help site for people seeking more understanding  of family law and related resources. Created by family attorney/mediator Tom James.

FamilyOnwards.com - "A helpsite for parents and grandparents," by dedicated British senior psychotherapist Jill Curtis. Over 100 articles on family issues, and helpful links.

FOCCUS and REFOCCUS - The FOCCUS instrument developed by Barbara Markey, PhD, is a marriage preparation inventory with maximum adaptability. 156 questions produce a unique couple profile which can be tailored for interchurch, second marriage or cohabiting couples. It comes in four editions: Non-Denominational, Christian Non-Denominational, Catholic, and Alternate for learning impaired. 

        FOCCUS, Inc. provides an inexpensive scoring service plus hand and PC scoring options. REFOCCUS is a marriage enrichment inventory that can be used for either groups or individual couples. FOCCUS, Inc., 3214 North 60th St, Omaha, Nebraska 68104. Toll free 888-874-2684 or 402-551-9003; Email: FOCCUS@foccusinc.com

Free Legal Advice - a nonprofit source of advice, forms, and chat on a wide range of domestic affairs. Indexed by state.

Humanistic Spirituality - a rich site "for counselors and the curious." with over 200 healthy and recovery-oriented videos and resources by Robert Strock and others

Mothers Without Custody (MWoC) - online coaching, counseling and printed resources of emotional support for separated and divorced mothers living apart from their children. 

National Center for Fathering - A wide range of excellent resources for men desiring to be more effective fathers.

OurFamilyWizard is a website was designed by divorced parents, with the help of family law professionals and technology savvy entrepreneurs, to coordinate family schedules and share family information. Equally useful for stepfamilies.

  Life Innovations (Prepare/Enrich) - a research-based, computer-assisted, re/marriage-assessment service offered nationally by a network of trained mental-health professionals. Request referrals to professionals in your area - or get information on training - by calling 1-800-331-1661, faxing 1 (651)-635-0716, or writing Life Innovations, Inc. (Prepare/ Enrich) at P.O. Box 190, Minneapolis, MN 55458. E-mail cs@lifeinnavation.com

  Rainbows - (originally "Rainbows for all God's Children") provides materials, leader training, and consultation for organizations sponsoring divorce, death, and re/marriage grief-support groups for kids, teens, and adults; 1111 Tower Rd., Schaumburg, IL, 60173, USA; International headquarters: 1-847-310-1880; E-mail: rainbowshdqtrs@worldnet.att.net

The Relate Institute  - "the science of relationships for singles, couples, and previously married" Features a well-tested way of evaluating premarital and marital relationships, under development since 1979.

SelfGrowth.com - bills itself as "the most complete guide to information about Self Improvement, Personal Growth and Self Help on the Internet. It is designed to be an organized directory, with articles and references to thousands of other Web Sites on the World Wide Web.

SelfLeadership.com - the site of Dr. Richard Schwartz, founder of the internal family systems model of psychotherapy ("parts work"). His Center for Self Leadership offers seminars, training, retreats, and certification. 

Self Help Law Center - provides free legal forms, legal resources, a reading room, links, and a child-support calculator for Californians 

SmartMarriages.com - a resource-rich non-profit national clearing house for educational and support programs for couples, maintained by Diane Sollee. Sponsors a well-attended annual conference.

reminder.gif (128 bytes) If you know of other helpful resources or find errors above, please let me know.

* Listing here does not necessarily imply endorsement of the products, services, or ideas at these sites

On-line Chat groups and chat - Currently, all major on-line services (AOL, MSN, CompuServe, and Prodigy) have these for co-parents (stepfamily bioparents and stepparents). Though they can be hard to find, they're worth searching for. Many stepfamily sites have bulletin boards and/or chat rooms. I recommend those at www.steptogether.com. You're not alone!

Stepfamily Periodicals

iStepfamily is another online magazine for blended families. It features celebrity interviews, advice columns, book and Website reviews, and national resources.

Bride Again is "The Only Magazine Designed for Encore Brides." This quarterly by Beth Reed Ramirez and staff includes articles on weddings, remarriage, and stepfamily co-parenting. The website offers some links to "bridal services," and a reader's survey. See the site, or call toll free 1-877-480-6933

Many stepfamily sites have online newsletters.

Helpful Board Games

        Order online, or call your local toy store to see if they stock these....

LifeStories - is a win-win (non-competitive) board game which provides "entertaining conversation between family, friends, and people who have just met; 2 to 8 players, ages 6 to 106."

The Ungame - is a similar non-competitive, fun board or pocket-card game to help adults and kids learn safely about each other. Optional playing-card sets for couples, families, kids (5+), and teens. Available through Amazon.com (link above), many toy and bookstores. Great re/wedding gift for under $20. 

Stepfamily Bibliographies

little i  Two extensive bibliographies for lay and professional people interested in stepfamily media and/or published research have been  available in print and on computer disk from the National Council on Family Relations' "Focus Group" on Remarriage and Stepfamilies. Call NCFR at (612)-781-9331, or write them at 3989 Central Ave. N.E., #550; Minneapolis, MN, 55421 for current info.

Check with the new nonprofit National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC)  to see if they offer an extensive bibliography compiled by the former Stepfamily Association of America.

reminder.gif (128 bytes) If you can recommend other helpful stepfamily, co-parenting, re/marriage, or recovery resources - or find that any of this info is wrong - please let me know!

* Listing here does not imply endorsement of the products, services, or ideas at these sites.

Class-kits and Support-group Resources

This free online Break the Cycle! self-improvement course is the most comprehensive, practical family resource I've found in 30 years' professional research.

"Building and Maintaining An Effective Co-parents' Support Group" - a 30-page article giving specific suggestions on the first meeting, holding effective planning meetings, four kinds of co-parent participants, and group-process tips to keep your group productive and growing. Online article from the non-profit Break the Cycle! Web site.

"Effective Stepparenting" is a 158-page softcover workshop guide covering developing roles and creating a new family structure, divided loyalties, the "instant love" myth, competition, discipline, and family rules. Questionnaires, checklists, exercises, and a bibliography are included. Available from Family Service America, Inc., 11700 W. Lake Park Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53224; About $20; 1-800-852-1944;

"New Beginnings: Skills for Single Parents and Stepparents", by Drs. Don Dinkmeyer, Gary McKay, and Joyce McKay. An 8-session audio-visual package of materials covering parenting issues, self-esteem, relationships and behavior, personality and emotional development, communication skills, decision making, child discipline, and common family conflicts. From Research Press, P.O. Box 9177, Champaign, IL, 61826; 1-217 352-3273 or 1-800-519-2707, fax 1-217-352-1221; E-mail rp@researchpress.com

Smart Steps for Adults and Children in Stepfamilies - developed by Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D. This 12-hour research-based, educational program curriculum is for remarried or partnering couples and their children, and focuses on building couple and family strength. The program uses informational presentations, hands-on exercises, group discussions, and media.

        The 250+ page Curriculum includes: leader lesson guides for adult and child programs, background readings, hand-out masters, resource list pre/post evaluation questionnaires, two videos (the movie, "Stepmom" and "Smart Steps Video Vignettes"), and CD with power point slides, hand-out files, and evaluation forms). Order from the National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC). $150.00

"Starting and Operating Support Groups": A (22p.) Guide for Parents; (1992); published by The Family Resource Coalition of America: 200 S. Michigan Ave., 16th floor; Chicago, IL, 60604: Item # CO13, about $5.00. (312)-341-0900; fax: 312-314-9361.

Selected stepfamily books

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Updated  August 12, 2015