Surviving Being A Stepparent

If you choose the path of marriage to a man with children, life can get complicated. When considering a lifetime commitment to a man with children you need to know this is a package deal, you are marrying the man you love and investing your life with his children as well. Becoming an instant parent is far from easy, especially if you have never had children of your own. Melding two families with children needs finese. Being a stepparent can be challenging, with a few guidelines the transition of single life to stepparent can make your life easier in the long run. 

Children Need Structure

Whether children are living with you all the time or a few days a week they need structure and a feeling of security. Children from divorced families have extra pressures to deal with and issues to work through. Most children going through a divorce still wish their parents would get back together. Imagine being shuttled back and forth every week from one house to another. If you are a product of a divorced family you know divorce can change your life.

Spend Time Together

You and your partner need time together, whether it is to regroup for the week or spending time building your relationship. The reality of being a stepparent is that the children were there before you were in his life. Chances are your partner is going to put his children first before you. This is tricky and not always easy to deal with. It doesn’t mean you are not important to your partner. Build in time spent together even if it is after the children are asleep. 

It is also important to spend time together as a family unit. Choose some fun activities,  attend children’s school events, and spend time with each child for a special activity. Hitting the mall or going to a movie can go a long way to help calm kids and give them a chance to know you and have fun hanging out with you. 

Present A United Front

You and your partner have to work together to make sure you mutually agree to decisions about the family. You are not just a visitor in this family, these are your children now. If you and your partner work together on what needs to happen in your family the children will see this and feel more secure.

When it comes to divorce is it vital that there is no badmouthing of your partner’s ex. It does not matter if she is a wonderful person or a terrible person, what is most important is that children see their parents working together and getting along. Divorce is traumatic for children and they often blame themselves as the reason their parents got divorced. Keep tensions at a minimum and arguments away from children’s ears. Divorced parents who can sit peacefully together with their new partners at children’s events keep childrens lives less stressful. This is the time to put your children first.

Be A Parent Not A Friend

Although being a stepparent often puts you in the position of being a friend, children need you to be a parent to them. Make sure you and your partner agree to guidelines on discipline and rules around the house. Stepparents often are left deferring discipline to the children’s parent. Stepparents can become an important part of a child’s life when the stepparent sticks to boundaries and rules. It can be painful to feel the wrath of a stepchild who does not want to listen to what you have to say and rejects you. Letting the child know you are here now and always for them gives them that all important feeling of security.

Tags: being a parent, stepchildren, stepparent, stepparenting

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