There can be one or more children. Both parents can have a child or children. The ages of the children can vary greatly. A younger new wife may be almost the same age as some of her step-children. But regardless of the age differences and the number of step children, there are certain tips a new step-parent should know.
Know and understand the difference between a birth family and a blended family. Of course it is hoped and often is the case that a coming together of new parents may make for a wonderful union. But there is a difference between a birth and a blended family. There is no need to highlight this but do be aware it exists.
Be prepared to change your stance on parenting. As a step-parent you may come into a relationship where your partner has used a certain method of parenting which you don’t like or have never used. It is vital that you give your new situation time to develop. Jumping right in and trying to change the way things are done will almost certainly not endear you to your new family.
Your partner will not appreciate you undermining their authority, if that’s the case, and your new ‘children’ will hardly be comfortable with their new parent announcing that things will be different around here from now on. Tread softly and slowly.
Get to know how kids think. It may be that the children in your new family are sad and guilt-ridden about the failure of the marriage of their birth parents. The step-parent may be seen, rightly or wrongly, as the cause of the marriage failure. If you know that this is the way some kids think, you will be better prepared to deal with the situation.
Be prepared too for hostility from your step-children. Remember you have married their father or mother, you haven’t married them. They may not even like you or worse, they may hate you. Again be prepared for such sentiment and know that time and patience will be required to win over your new step-child or children.
Try and imagine what it’s like for a child to arrive at a new school. There are plenty of opportunities for concern and unhappiness. You have appeared and become a new mother or father. This can be strange for both you and the kids. Don’t be surprised if things don’t go as well as you would like. Again the age of your step-children is a big factor and learn to be patient.
Having a family meeting on a regular basis may be an excellent idea. Remember you may be an experienced parent but an inexperienced step-parent. Set time aside to discuss things as a new family. Allow everyone to have their say and work hard at making your marriage successful. Step-children gain confidence when their parents are hitting it off.
The buzz word for your new situation is ‘inclusive’. You are now in a new family. Your step-kids are now your kids. Think of the family as one even though you are a step-parent. Many such families work wonderfully well and you can make sure that applies to you.
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