In today’s world, modern family will have us believe that step-parenting is a hard job.
Some say blending a family is like a dish that takes a long time to cook.
But if you’re patient and take the following five tips to heart, the rewards will be well worth the effort.
1. DON’T BAD MOUTH THE BIOLOGICAL PARENT: You are going to have your opinions. Perhaps the ex is way too lax about the rules. Perhaps you really don’t like her. Whatever it is you are feeling and thinking, don’t mention it. Your step child has the right to love his parents… even if you see them as imperfect.
It’s also simply not your place to get involved in disputes between the biological parents. “Voicing your disdain for the other parent’s actions will make the child feel as though she has to choose between you and her biological parent.
2. DON’T BE A DISCIPLINARIAN: Without a doubt, being a step-parent is hard. You are treading in uncertain territory. One of the keys to maintaining your footing is to resist taking on a parenting role per se. Use your creativity and positive thoughts to create environments where relationships with your step-children are encouraged, not stifled.
That said, you still need to set rules for your house. Just do it in concert with your spouse, and don’t be afraid to enforce them.
3. DON’T BE A REPLACEMENT PARENT: Again, the challenging role of a step-parent is tough and uncertain. But no matter how bad the biological parent is, you aren’t supposed to take her place — or try. It could lead to big-time resentment.
4. DON’T EXPECT THINGS TO BE PERFECT: When you and your step-child’s parent signed a marriage certificate, it didn’t flip a magical switch that would create a lovely family dynamic in your home. Sure, it would be nice if that were the case, but it simply isn’t.
So, expect some rough patches, and wait for the love to develop over time.
5. DON’T PLAY FAVOURITES: Step or not, a child is a child and shouldn’t have to face the fact that she may not be your favourite person. If you do have your own children, try not to show blatant favouritism to them. Chances are, you are never going to feel the same way about your step child as you do your own children. Kids know this on some level, but they do not need to see it blatantly played out in front of them, which can wreak serious havoc on self-esteem and set up a antagonistic relationship between biological kids and your step child.
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