Father’s Day is coming and maybe you find yourself married and a stepdad to some amazing kids. Or possibly you are absolutely, madly in love and dating a woman that already has children of her own. Either way, you are the (often) dreaded step-parent. No matter how you look at it, it’s a challenging role at the very least. Especially if the kids are slightly older and already very set in their ways.
A happy, blended family though is definitely attainable! Co-parenting and step-parenting doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It can be amazingly rewarding and astoundingly perfect, with some work of course.
Here we are outlining some Do’s and Don’ts of Step-parenting. We hope that it help you in that ever rewarding journey or parenting.
Focus on lot’s and lot’s of one on one time with the kiddos
You need time to get to know them and they need time to get to know you. Period. Absolutely nothing happens overnight. Take specific time out just with them, doing something they enjoy doing. It’s a great way to get to know their personalities.
Make sure you take it slow
Once again, nothing happens overnight. Don’t be pushy, don’t be demanding. Simply allow the relationship to form naturally and at their pace.
Allow the kids to have their say in things
In our blended family, we make sure to have family discussions when there are issues that are on the table. For instance, when an older child has to move home and that move affects the household. We have a sit down meeting and all discuss it. You don’t have to necessarily implement what they say but you will at least want to make them feel like their opinion is valued.
Talk to your partner/spouse about the children, carefully
This rule applies to anyone and everyone that has kids. A parent is automatically on the defense when it comes to their child and their behavior. If there is an issue, make sure to not accuse or make your partner feel like they have to defend their child. Approach all situations regarding behavior with cool heads, respectfully and all will be alright in the end.
Don’t put your relationship with your partner/spouse first
This may be hard to do or not do. You want to be a cohesive unit and focus on your relationship but the kids really should always come first. Make sure they are seeing a healthy relationship but always put their needs before your own.
Family events don’t always include you
Everyone already knows who you are and what role you play in the relationship and family. There is no need to be at every event and function that includes the family. Likely it’s going to stir up some resentment and issue somewhere and that can very well be avoided by just not going.
You don’t have to be the rule maker & disciplinarian
You have nothing to prove. Zero. Nada. When dealing with someone’s elses’ children you are running the risk of stepping on the toes of the other parent and causing some friction. Unless you are asked to take part in disciplining the children, stay back and allow the natural parents to do so. You’ll thank me later on this one!
This isn’t a competition for attention