In short, stepparenting can be one of the toughest jobs you'll ever take on. The good news is that by using these eight following tips, it can also be one of the most rewarding assignments you'll ever accept:
- Expect that your relationship with your partner's children will be rocky from day one this way you'll be prepared for the worst. Kid's naturally feel confused, resentful or both when one of their parents brings a new partner into the mix.
- From day one, be clear that you are an adult friend to your partner's children, not a new parent.
- In your words and actions, indicate to your partner's children that you respect the role that their other parent plays in their lives. No matter how much you may dislike your partner's former spouse, keep it to yourself!
- Discuss parenting styles with your partner. Although these are not your children, you should certainly have a say in how they behave — at least in your presence. 28 Dos & Don'ts Of Divorced Parenting
- Especially early on, don't try to discipline you partner's children. Rightfully, they will get angry and remind you that you aren't their parent. Leave the parenting and discipline to your partner and work on developing an appropriate adult/child friendship with the children.
- Recognize that your partner has a history with his or her children that must be honored. There will be times when you feel like the "odd man out," but this is part of the price you pay for taking on a stepfamily.
- If you feel as though you partner too often puts their kids' needs ahead of your relationship with one another, air your concerns. Obviously, there are times when kids' needs must come first, i.e. an emergency, a doctor's appointment, a sporting event or a school concert. It's all about balance, but you should feel as though your partner also considers your needs and wants.
- Openly discuss the role you and your partner would each like you to play in the children's lives. If you see this very differently but never discuss it, misunderstandings between you are inevitable. The Best Marriage Advice You Can Get
In general, establish an open line of communication about your partner's children from the start. If you do this from a collaborative and problem-solving perspective rather than a judgmental one, stepparenting is a job you'll cherish for a lifetime.