Colorado schools start earlier than many states.  Our neighborhoods here are buzzing with the back-to-school sounds of buses rumbling through neighborhoods and kids chatting in packs as they return from the bus stop.

In fact, I would argue that at least in this region of the U.S., fall inspires more feelings of change and new beginnings than spring.  Long before the leaves change colors, the turnover of the seasons is a natural re-set point for us all.

With this change momentum in place, maybe it’s a good time to try something new in your stepfamily.   My husband is dumping his young adult lectures and switching to more of a question-based approach with his son, my 21-year-old stepson.  I feel that I, the stepparent, can also model this questioning.  My stepson must feel the change in the wind too — he’s been back living with us since May, but just told us he’ll be moving out again in a few weeks.

I’ve found I can ride the seasonal energy to be more bold and brave in my attitude and actions. The change back to kids spending more hours in the school enviroment allows me to have more stimulating and “hip” conversations with my stepkids as we talk about school happenings, activities, and friends.

Maybe this would even be a great time to have the “I know I’m not your birth parent and yet I’m here to help you” conversation (a very important conversation that I never really initiated but certainly should have).  Or perhaps you’ll find the words to communicate something important to your stepkids that you’ve not yet been able to utter.

If the emotional conversations are too heady, fall is also a perfect season to try new logistics or organizational systems.  Kids are coming home from school (that is, if not home schooled) with clean, unmarked day planners.  They too may be inspired to sit down as a family and offer their ideas for how to rotate homework, free time, chores, and activities.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Diane Fromme is a Colorado-based writer, parent, and stepparent.  Check out her book and upcoming audio, Stepparenting the Grieving Child, at

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1 Comment on Fall: a Natural Time for Change

  1. Erin says:

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