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:
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
Want to learn more? Tune in now through September 18 for the YourTango Experts intensive event, Love After Kids, featuring all kinds of advice and insights from our experts about the unique challenges of coparenting in the digital age.
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