Stepparenting: What you need to know
Adele Cornish, BSW
Essential information for every stepfather and stepmother
If you choose a partner who has children of their own, you are choosing their children too (even if it’s by default). Almost all children express dissatisfaction with the newly formed blended family at some point. A difficult stepchild can cause turmoil within a stepfamily. The key to success is to unite together as a couple and put some strategies in place that will help build relationships.
The feeling of ‘love’ between a stepmother or stepfather and child can take years to develop.
The stepparent/child relationship is very different to the biological parent/child relationship. Focus must first be on developing respectful relationships between stepparents and stepchildren before a more loving one evolves. Over time a stepparent and child can form a special and unique bond which will be different to the bio parent/child connection but not in a negative sense.
Stepparents, particularly those new to the job, often struggle with how they fit in and where their responsibilities lie. A stepparent does not replace a bio parent, so what is their role?
Here are some roles a stepparent can fulfill to provide a supportive environment for the children in a blended family:
* Accept and support stepchildren as part of your family.
* Be proactive in building the relationship with your stepchildren.
* Decide on house rules and consequences with their biological parent.
For more information on the role of a stepparent and how to reduce resentment that often goes hand in hand with the task, please go to Session 4, page 14 of the Blending Lives Program. If you don’t have a copy yet, please click here
p.s. Session 3 of the Blending Lives Program has information on how to bond with your stepchild and what your partner must do to help you.