Becoming a Stepparent (for Parents)
When the other parent is a step parent, however, that is often not so easy. Here are some tips for couples with step children to use to protect their marriage. step-parent definition: a parent who is married to the father or mother of a child, We offer confidential advice to step-parents on creating good relationships with. And then there are the various relationships that need to be clearly defined. The parent and his or her children have their relationship, and the stepparent has his be excellent trained professional guidance at the beginning of the relationship, .
Talk openly with kids, even if they seem OK with the big changes, to help prevent trouble later. How long you've known them. Usually, the longer you know the kids, the better the relationship.
There are exceptions for example, if you were friends with the parents before they separated and are blamed for the break-up. But in most cases, having a history together makes the transition a little smoother.
How long you dated the parent before marriage. Again, there are exceptions but typically if you don't rush into the relationship with the adult, kids have a good sense that you are in this for the long haul. How well the parent you marry gets along with the ex-spouse. Minimal conflict and open communication between ex-partners can make a big difference regarding how easily kids accept you as their stepparent.
It's much easier for kids to adjust to new living arrangements when adults keep negative comments out of earshot. How much time the kids spend with you. Trying to bond with kids every other weekend — when they want quality time with a birth parent they don't see as often as they'd like — can be a hard way to make friends with your stepkids.
Remember to put their needs first: If kids want time with their birth parent, they should get it. So sometimes making yourself scarce can help smooth the path to a better relationship in the long run. Knowing ahead of time what situations could be a problem can help you prepare.
Then, if complications arise, you can handle them with an extra dose of patience and grace. Steps to Great Stepparenting All parents face difficulties now and then.
But when you're a stepparent, they can be harder because you're not the birth parent. This can open up power struggles within the family, whether it's from the kids, your partner's ex, or even your partner.
When times get tough, putting kids' needs first can help you make good decisions.
Put needs, not wants, first. Kids need love, affection, and consistent rules above all else. Giving them toys or treats, especially if they're not earned with good grades or behavior, can lead to a situation where you feel like you're trading gifts for love.
- How to Protect Your Marriage in a Step Family
Similarly, if you feel guilty for treating your biological kids differently from your stepchildren, don't buy gifts to make up for it. Do you best to figure out how to treat them more equally. Keep your house rules as consistent as possible for all kids, whether they're your kids from a previous relationship, your partner's kids from a previous relationship, or new children you have had together.
Children and teens will have different rules, but they should be consistently applied at all times.
The Effective Stepfather: A Check-List to Live By
This helps kids adjust to changes, like moving to a new house or welcoming a new baby, and helps them feel that all kids in your home are treated equally. If kids are dealing with two very different sets of rules in each home, it may be time for an adults-only family meeting — otherwise kids can learn to "work the system" for short-term gain but long-term problems. It also helps to "spread" rewards and punishments across both households.
When kids do a good deed and earn praise or a privilege in one household, they should receive similar praise or rewards when they go back to the other household. The same goes for punishment, such as loss of electronics time for breaking a house rule.
This can help kids feel like both families are on the same page, and it keeps one parent or household from being the "good guy" or the "bad guy. Find special activities to do with your stepkids, but be sure to get their feedback.
New family traditions could include board game nights, bike riding together, cooking, doing crafts, or even playing quick word games in the car. In the beginning, when limited to positional power, effective stepfathers provide in-direct leadership in their home by leading through their wife who holds a great deal of relational power with the children.
Work with her behind the scenes to establish boundaries, expectations, and the values that will govern your home. While she might be the one to communicate the values and hand down discipline, you can still be very responsible to set a godly tone for the family.
In fact, they may be threatened by it. Children who hold a strong fantasy that their parents will reconcile can find your commitment a barrier to life as they would have it.
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Be patient with their adjustment to your marriage, but communicate your commitment to the permanency of the marriage nevertheless. Communicating that same understanding to their father is also very helpful to him; hopefully this will help him to not fear your involvement with his kids.
As his fear decreases, his cooperative spirit about your presence may increase. Finally, tell your stepkids that you are looking forward to your growing relationship and that you know how awkward that can be for the child.
Part of being approachable and accessible to stepchildren is knowing that not everything is about you. Until you have worked through the struggles of building a relationship, most of what a kids throws at you is a test of your character. Show yourself not easily offended and able to deal with their emotional ups and downs. This will make it more likely that they see you as someone they can trust.
Showing appreciation is the quickest way to build someone up and help them to feel comfortable in your presence. By contrast, be cautious with criticism. Words of affirmation go along way to engendering safety and closeness. If a child is not welcoming of your presence, join their life at a distance.
Becoming a Stepparent
This means taking them to their soccer game and cheering from the sidelines, but not being too much of a coach. How did it go? I noticed a concert in the paper today that you might consider attending. Focused time will deepen the trust and emotional bond in your relationship.