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Where To Find Resources To Build Healthy Stepfamily Relationships


 The following is an unedited transcript.

Today I'm talking with Sydney Gurney with USU Extension's Healthy Relationship Utah, to talk about a program to help build stepfamily relationships. 

Kailey Foster- First, can you just explain to us what this course is about?

Sydney Gurney- Of course, the course that I teach is called Smart Steps for Stepfamilies. It was created by the National Stepfamily Association to strengthen stepfamilies. 

We will cover a variety of concepts such as finding common ground step-parenting, parenting across households, navigating conflict and so much more. It’s also a research-based curriculum available free for Utah families.

KF- Why is it important for families to take advantage of resources like this?

SG- It's so important that we take these courses to strengthen our families because I believe that when you strengthen your families, we also strengthening our communities. That's one of the goals that we have here at USU is to take our research and the knowledge that we have and to build up those stepfamilies and build a better community.

KF- And why don't you give us some tips today that we would learn if we took this course.

SG- So one thing that we like to focus on is the couple's relationship in the Smart Stepfamily Program. So, people usually don't know this, but that couple’s relationship is the most vulnerable when entering a stepfamily.

So, one thing we like to tell our participants to strengthen that relationship is by doing the small daily things. Often, we like to do the big grand gestures, which are great, but the small daily things of service or kindness, that can strengthen the relationship.

KF- So where can families go to find these resources?

SG- You can go to and on that, you can see so many different courses that we offer, and you can find Smart Steps for Stepfamilies you can find couple of links that focus on couple relationships and parenting courses.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.