Being a good step parent

Starting a new family after having gone through a divorce, no matter how much time has gone by, is tough. It’s tough on the adults and tough on the children. However, it is important to give your kids the chance of living within a compact family and the better you succeed in blending family member, the higher the chances of having healthy and steady family relationships. Step-families always have to deal with difficult process, because things don’t run smoothly when you have to parent a kid who is not yours or when you have to accept a new mum or a new dad. Although this can be a challenging experience, it is also very rewarding in the end, as you gain an extended family. There is no general recipe for being a good step parent and the situation varies significantly from one family to another, but there are a couple of things that are generally valid and that can easily be adjusted to fit any such challenge.

¬†First of all, you need to make sure that children are not experiencing too many changes at once, as this can be very unsettling. You should try to blend in with their habits and their routine as much as possible at the beginning. Also, don’t over do it. They won’t fall in love with you over night, no matter how much you try, and neither will you with them. Give you and them the chance to get to know each other. Love, respect and trust will follow, even though it may take a while. A good step in that direction is trying to connect with them naturally, by experiencing real life together. A lot of step parents tend to try and spoil the kids, taking them out to ice cream, theme parks and other such activities that they believe will make the children love them. These activities are not reflective of real, every day life and, although this behavior may actually work at first, it will only prolong the real bonding process. The more the kids get used to you in daily life activities and situations, side by side with their mother or father, the better.

¬†Another highly important aspect is forming a unitary front with your partner. Together you need to decide how much you can and will be involved in the parenting process and what kind of changes will occur, so that whatever happens, you two will stand together in front of the kids. You can’t and you shouldn’t force children to like someone, but you can insist on them respecting that person. It’s a good life lesson anyway and it will help significantly. The bottom line is that it takes time for children to accept a step parent and while you real affection and love may develop faster than theirs, you need to be patient and let them grow the relationship at their own pace. Allow them not to love you, but do not allow them to disrespect you.