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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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Gaining stepparents and stepsiblings positively affect South students’ lives

ONE BIG FAMILY: With three stepsiblings, two biological siblings, her biological father and stepmom, senior Maya Bassin (third from right) stands with the big family she always wanted.
ONE BIG FAMILY: With three stepsiblings, two biological siblings, her biological father and stepmom, senior Maya Bassin (third from right) stands with the “big family” she always wanted.

While the cliché “evil stepmother” and “nasty stepsiblings” may hold true in movies, this is not the real case for certain South students.

Senior Maya Bassin’s parents divorced when she was 12, and while it wasn’t unexpected,  she said it was hard for her nonetheless. Now her mom is remarried and her dad is engaged.

“I love [having stepparents],” Bassin said. “It never ends up being another parent who ‘parents’ you; my stepparents are a lot more fun and easygoing and they’re just more people to be there for you.”

Bassin also gained two siblings from her parents’ marriage and six step-siblings. Her stepdad has three daughters and her stepmom-to-be has two sons and one daughter.

“I love [having stepfamilies] because I have so many more people in my life that I love,” Bassin said. “I have so many more people to be there for me, to be able to talk to, and more people to be a role model for, like my little siblings. I always wanted a big family.”

In addition to Bassin, senior Kelly Abarca’s parents also divorced and remarried. Like Bassin, Abarca enjoys having stepsiblings.

“[Having stepparents] gave me siblings,” Abarca said. “I always wanted siblings when I was little, and I guess [my parents] remarrying made them happier, and that’s why they decided to have more children. I only wanted one [sibling], but now I have four.”

Initially, junior Paula Zdanowski did not see the possible benefits in her parent’s divorce and remarriage. According to Zdanowski, she struggled once her parents got divorced, but now sees how having stepparents has helped her.

“I used to blame my mom and my dad for anything bad that would happen,” Zdanowski said. “It would be like, ‘Oh, this happened because you guys divorced,’ which is never the answer because it’s not like they wanted to. But having a stepfamily has made [me] who I am.  They didn’t raise me, but they helped guide me in life.”

Zdanowski  also admits that she and her stepsiblings had a difficult time getting along at first. Luckily, she says that these relationships have improved, especially with her stepbrother.

“It was different getting used to each other,” Zdanowski said. “I remember [my stepmom’s family] lived in Northbrook and we went to their house, and they had their own stuff, and when we would come over it could be territorial I guess. Now [mine and my stepbrother’s] relationship is so strong.”

Unlike Zdanowski, Bassin said that having her parents date other people wasn’t a big issue for her, since she didn’t meet many of their partners.

“With my mom, me and my brother would joke, saying, ‘You’re not allowed to get remarried’, and ‘You’re going to be a cat-lady’, and just stuff like that to make her mad,” Bassin said. “But the only boyfriend we ever met of hers was my stepdad.”

Abarca said that while having stepparents is mostly a good thing for her, not being able to spend time with her biological parents whenever she wants to is tough.

“There isn’t really a downside to having stepparents,” Abarca said. “[Besides] not being able to see your dad every day or your mom some weekends. They have a family of their own now. I live with my mom, but sometimes I want to go see my dad or my dad can’t pick me up and we have schedule conflicts.”

Bassin explained that it often feels like she has two completely separate families.

“It’s two separate families for sure,” Bassin said. “My stepsiblings on the two sides don’t know each other at all, so it’s weird [that] they just don’t interact. My brother, sister and I move [houses]. Half the week we’ll be with my mom, and half the week we’ll be with my dad.”

Despite some challenges, Bassin says that having additional parents and siblings has had a positive effect on her life that she is grateful for.

“Obviously [having stepparents] has changed my whole life because it’s where I live, what I do and the people I spend my time with,” Bassin said. “But I think it’s been a really positive change and there’s not a lot of negative stuff—like it’s hard blending two families and whatnot, but in the end I think we’ve done it pretty well.”

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