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Tips for stepping up to the plate as a stepparent

Transitioning into the role of a stepparent can be like jumping head first into an ocean of the unknown.

You are sure to encounter many challenges as you and your spouse work together to co-parent your children under the same roof. While there is no “right” way to make the adjustment, these tips can help you to make the blended family a success.

What can stepparents do to help the whole family to co-exist and thrive?

Get on the same page about expectations regarding discipline

Of course, you want to avoid becoming the “evil stepparent” when it comes to discipline. You may strive to be your stepchild’s friend and stray away from laying down the rules of the house. However, as their parent, you will need to be willing to discipline them when necessary.

Getting on the same page as your spouse regarding each other’s expectations is critical. One of the fastest ways to form a united front is by being consistent with punishments from day one.

Balance time spent as a family

Spending time as a family is essential to developing positive relationships with one another. You can brainstorm ideas and find an activity that everyone will enjoy.

However, don’t forget the importance of continuing to spend one-on-one time with your own children. You want your child to know that your love for them hasn’t changed and you are still able to give them personal attention. You can also spend one-on-one time with your spouse’s children to help them feel more comfortable around you.

Take interest in your stepchild's life

Getting involved in your stepchild’s life means more to them than you know – especially if their other parent is absent. You can attend their athletic events and cheer them on from the sidelines. If they enjoy spending time outside, offer to take them out for a day of fun. You can help them with their homework and offer them rides to their friends’ houses.

Do what you can to show them that you care about their emotional well-being. By taking interest in their lives, you can demonstrate your willingness to assume the role of a step-parent.

If you encounter issues co-parenting, don’t hesitate to hold family meetings to identify the sources of stress and find solutions. Lastly, give the kids time to adjust. Don’t force a relationship onto them. Work to build trust together and recognize when it’s necessary to take a step back or approach the situation from another angle altogether.

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