Step-Parenting: 7 Successful “Steps”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were just born with the innate ability to stepparent?

We would just know when to be the friend, the authority figure, or when not to be. We wouldn’t have insecurities about our actions or question whether we are doing things right. Of course life would be so much easier if we just were born with these abilities! The reality is you won’t have all the answers and you will make mistakes.

There isn’t a one a “one shoe fits all” solution. Here are a few steps to help you become a successful stepparent:

Demonstrate appreciation for the biological parents
One of the most important things for children is to have their parents be on good terms. As a stepparent, showing respect for the parent who is not a part of that core family any longer will help gain the admiration of the child/children.

Schedule time alone with stepchildren
One way to build the relationship with stepchildren is to spend time alone with them. Plan a weekly or monthly activity you can enjoy doing together. What is also important is encouraging them to spend time alone with their biological parents as well. This relieves any thoughts the child/children might have that you are trying to replace one of the biological parents.

Be patient
It is a natural instinct to want to form immediate bonds with stepchildren. However, this may not happen as quickly as you like. That’s ok. Be patient, but persistent. This will show the child/children you want have a relationship, but are willing to go at their pace.

Remember it may not always be you
Divorce is a difficult and emotional time for children. Take this and add the addition of a new person in the house. Children are naturally going to react to these changes. The idea of their biological parents getting back together is no longer a reality. This may be difficult for the child or children to accept. Understand a reaction of anger towards you may have nothing to do with you personally.

Help make the home transition easier
Children of blended families do a lot of back-and-forth between homes. This can be stressful on them. You can help this process by understanding their frustration. One way may be to not require them to carry too many things between homes. Make sure your home has all they need. This may require they have two of something because they need it at both homes, but this can help their stress level.

Children do come first
This can be a difficult task, but it is necessary to understand the children of your spouse do come before you.

Take Time for Self-Care
This is most important! We all get frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed with everyday life. When this happens we tend to take this frustration out on those around us. Be aware of yourself when you begin to have these feelings and take of yourself.

Being a stepparent takes work, but through this work you can build relationships more special than you could have ever imagined!