Fill in the blank: when it comes to disciplining their stepchildren, stepparents should _________.
We asked the experts this question, and 62% agree: stepparents should discipline their steppkids as they would their own children. What else does it take to be a great stepparent? Here's what they had to say:
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1. Follow, don't lead. While each parent may have their own parenting style, as the stepparent, it's important to follow the birth parent's lead.
2. Be a supporter. Children always need allies. This is especially true for children who are adapting to a new stepparent.
Focus on being the best cheerleader you can be to your stepchild. Even when it seems unwelcome, supporting his interests, attending his school events and being a consistent present person in his life will go a long way in communicating that you care. —Michelle LaRowe
3. Expect storms. The dynamic of every newly created stepfamily is form, storm, norm, and perform — and it can years for the "norm" to take hold.
Take advantage of all safe stress-releasing outlets, such as support groups or good friends, either in person or online. You might find solutions, or just a place to let off some steam. —Paula Bisacre
4. Keep some old traditions and make new ones. Reinvent birthday parties. Celebrate good report cards with a trip to the ice cream store. Make your kid's favorite meal, create a silly dance together, or plan a special outing.
If your kids always went to the beach on a particular holiday, and his always went to the mountains, alternate the destinations from year to year. Set up two Christmas trees — one with a novel theme, the other more familiar. Make a new menorah and set it alongside the old one. — Paula Bisacre
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