Thursday, July 5, 2012

Step parenting just one crew of kids is not so easy

A blended family consisting of one parent, kids, and a step parent has some advantages over a blended family with two sets of kids, but that is not to say things are easier. 

The outsider
In a perfect world, each new blended family should move into a home entirely new to everyone, but in many cases that is just not feasible. Moving into the home of your marital predecessor can be difficult, but a considerate and empathetic partner can encourage you to make the kinds of changes you need to feel more comfortable. Stepping into former spouse territory will likely be easier, though, than stepping into the space of your step kids’ other parent.

Step moms and other starring roles
Some step moms do consider auditioning for the role of Big Sister, or Best Friend, but luckily are often rebuffed. Luckily, your step kids need your role to be that of step mom, in partnership with their dad.  Put your energy into being the kind of step mom who loves their dad, treats them with loving kindness and consideration, and expects to be treated with respect.

Step dad, Pal, or Captain Obedience?
No matter whether your step kids need a friend, need to show more respect for their mother, or need a splash of reality in their lives, what they need most is that you love and respect their mother and treat them fairly.

Rules and discipline
Mutual respect should always be first and foremost on the list, especially for communications between step kids and their step parents. There may be times when people do not agree, but they can be perfect times to model the skill of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

Love usually takes time, especially if you are met with suspicion or outright hostility. Try not to feel guilty about it, and concentrate on getting to know your step kids, without expectations or judgment. In the beginning, it is enough to know that your partner expects you to try. It may help to think of love as something that is not earned, but something that is given away unreservedly.

If you feel like an outsider in your blended family, give it time. Let your step kids get to know your. Take care that you give credit for something well done, use restraint in advice or correction, and be open to every opportunity. You might be surprised to know that it is worth the effort. For more information regarding step parenting, visit The Blended and Step Family Resource Center.

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