Becoming a Stepparent

Becoming a parent by marrying someone with kids or blending families can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. If you’ve never had kids, you’ll get the opportunity to help to shape her or his character and share your life with a younger person. If you have kids, you’ll offer them more opportunities to establish a special bond that only siblings can have and to build relationship.

Your new family members may get along without a hitch, in some cases, but other times you can expect difficulties along the way. Figuring out your role as a parent, may lead to confusion or even conflict between your partner and you, your partner’s ex-husband or ex-wife and their kids.

There is no foolproof formula for creating the “perfect” family, because every family has its own dynamics, it’s important to approach this new situation with understanding for the feelings of those involved and patience.

From time to time, all parents face difficulties. When you’re a stepparent, those obstacles are compounded by the fact that you are not the birth parent and this can open up power struggles within the kids, your partner, your partner’s ex, or even your family.

The initial role of a stepparent is that you are another caring adult in a child’s life, similar to a mentor or loving family member. You might wonder what you’re doing wrong, if your kids or your new stepchild doesn’t warm up to you as quickly as you’d like, and you may desire closer bond right away, be patient, relationships need time to grow.

Try not to rush into things and start out slow. Kids can tell when adults are being insincere or fake, so let things develop naturally. You can develop a more meaningful, deeper relationship with your stepchildren, over time, which necessarily doesn’t have to resemble the one they share with their birth parents.

The transition into step parenting may affect other factors, like:

  • How old the kids are? When it comes to forming and adjusting new relationships, generally speaking, younger kids have an easier time than older kids.
  • How long you’ve known them? Usually, the better relationship, the longer you know the kids, in most cases having a history together makes the transition a little smoother.
  • How long you dated the parent before marriage? If you don’t rush into the relationship with the adult, kids have a good sense are you in this for the long haul.
  • How well the parent you marry gets along with the ex-spouse? Open communication and minimal conflict between ex-partners can make a big difference regarding how easily kids accept you as their stepparent. When adults keep negative comments out of earshot, is much easier for kids to transition to new living arrangements.
  • How much time the kids spend with you? Trying to bond with kids every other weekend, can be difficult way to make friends with your new step kids, if they want quality time with a birth parent they don’t see as often as they’d like.

Remember to put their needs first: If your step kids want time with their birth parent, they should get it. When times get tough, however, putting kids’ needs first can help you make good decisions and smooth the path to a better relationship in the long run.

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