Living With Stepparents (for Kids)
Advice for Stepparents: 7 Ways to Connect With Stepkids To take the pressure off the initial meeting, make it a quick hello and avoid long dinners or giving. Divorce can be painful for parents, but eventually, each person involved starts to heal. A divorced parent may even meet someone new he or she would like to. As both a stepchild and stepmother, Emma Jacobs explores the challenges of ' blended' families.
Figure out ahead of time what to call your stepparent. Ask about stepsiblings and things like if you have to share a room now. Ask about holiday plans and who's giving presents to whom. If your house is about to explode with new people, find out how this affects you and that spare room where you listen to music. Don't be afraid to ask questions as they come to mind. Your parents and new stepparent might not have thought about the things you're asking either, so there's an opportunity to explore options together.
And if there's something you absolutely don't want to change, try to negotiate. For example, if you and your dad always go fishing over Thanksgiving but your mom made plans for you to spend the holiday with her new husband's family, she might not realize how important the fishing trip is to you.Parents Tell Stepparents What They Really Think
Handling Disagreements What about those times when you flat out disagree with a stepparent? You'll have a better chance of getting what you want if you disagree without disrespect. Explain your feelings calmly and rationally.
For example, if you have a new half-brother or -sister and you feel like you're constantly being expected to babysit at the last minute, talk it over with your stepparent before the situation gets to the stage where you feel taken advantage of.
Present your side — maybe you have to study for a test or you already made plans with friends and they're relying on you.
Advice for Stepparents: 7 Ways to Connect With Stepkids
Then listen to the other person's perspective. Include your parent in the discussion, too.
If you're particularly mad about something, it can feel hard not to lose control. But managing your anger and taking extra care to choose respectful language will help your stepparent see you for the mature person you are, not as a child. Find a way to get to know the new stepparent in your life.
Suggest a bike ride or go to a movie together. It may not be easy, but you can use the same relationship and communication skills you would use to make anyone feel welcome. It may help to remember that your stepparent is walking into a new situation, too. He or she could feel just as nervous and confused as you do.
Expect some rough spots. You know that establishing a good relationship takes time.
Step parenting advice on boundaries
Your new life won't always be smooth, so be ready to make some compromises. The good thing is, the ups and downs of adjusting to a new family situation can offer some really great life lessons. Many people look back on their experiences getting to know new family members and realize they learned some great relationship and negotiating!
Remind yourself that every situation is different. There's no real script for a new family that's being pulled together from all sorts of directions. Be open to lots of possibilities. And savor the good moments. Although change is often difficult, it can be good, too. Be clear with yourself and the stepchild about your role in the family. Remember that a stepchild can develop feelings of love and respect for you without using the term "Mom" or "Dad.
Sign up to get craft ideas, parenting tips, tricks and more sent right to your inbox. Even if you believe in spanking, a stepparent should never cross the line of administering physical consequences to a child. The incident and the painful memories of [physical discipline from a stepparent] can last a lifetime and take a toll on any chance of building trust and respect in the new family.
8 Boundaries Stepparents Shouldn't Cross
Remove yourself from the situation if you feel yourself getting overly worked up and report any misbehavior to the biological parent to determine if consequences are necessary. Assuming a position of authority. Young children, under the age of 5 or 6, may be more willing accept a stepparent's authority in the new family, but school-age children and teens will often rebuff a stepparent's attempts at automatic authority. You may have won the heart of your new spouse, but if he or she is a package deal with kids in tow, you'll need to earn the love and respect of your new stepchildren too.
Basic respect is a must, but you'll need to put time and effort into the relationship with your stepchildren if you want more. Take our Day Healthy Family Challenge. Getting involved in parenting discussions between your partner and the ex.
It can be tempting to weigh in on a parenting discussion between your spouse and his or her ex--but don't. Although stepparents can certainly provide their input into a parenting situation, this should be done privately with the spouse, not during the conversation with the ex. Make a concerted effort to build a positive relationship with your spouse's ex so that your interactions and input can be well received.
Find out what your parenting style is. Getting involved in arguments between your stepchild and your spouse.
This will surely cause some tension in your marriage. Be your partner's support system, Korf suggests, giving him feedback only if and when he asks for it. If he doesn't come to you for help, then assume he's got it covered. Ignoring or countering the wishes of the ex.
If your stepchild's mom has forbidden dyeing her hair, midriff-baring shirts, or dating before she's 16, it's not your place to override her wishes. Your new spouse may no longer be married to the ex, but the ex still gets a say in parenting their children.