Articles: BLENDED FAMILY
Remarriage and Step Parenting
Second marriages can be very rewarding. However, they can also be very stressful. According to statistics, second marriages are at greater risk for ending in divorce than first marriages. Therefore, before entering a new marriage make time to discuss your expectations with your prospective new partner.
Issues you may want to consider:
- What kind of expectations do you and your partner have of each other?
- How do you view each others roles in your new family?
- How will decisions regarding the family be made? Their children? Your children? Discipline? Money? Holidays?
- How will you support each other in your new marriage?
- What will you both do to nurture your new relationship?
Don't expect your step-children to instantly love you
or even like you.
Be respectful of your stepchildren's feelings and avoid forcing the relationship. Children need time to get to know you before they can establish a meaningful bond.
Don't try to replace children's biological parent.
Even through it may be difficult at times, children need to have their relationship with their biological parent supported by you. Your job as a stepparent is not to be a replacement parent but to be an additional parenting figure. Children can never have too many positive loving adults in their lives.
Despite how you are treated by your step-child's other parent do not involve your step-children in the conflict.
Try to separate the other parent's actions from your relationship with your stepchildren. Remember children may sometimes be caught in loyalty conflicts. In the long run the less you involve them, the more they will feel respected and in turn respect you.
Don't move into the role of disciplinarian too quickly.
Again take time to get to know your stepchildren and develop your relationship first. Ideally the biological parents should be the primary disciplinarians with stepparents filling a supportive role.
Get used to biting your tongue and taking lots of deep breaths.
Being a stepparent is not easy but it can definitely be worthwhile. The bond you create with your stepchildren can become a special lifelong relationship. However, there will be times when you may feel frustrated with your role.
Support your spouse having individual time with their children.
While you are trying to establish yourself as a blended family remember that children still need one on one time with parents. One big mistake second families make is trying to do everything together as a new family which kids sometimes resent.