A Parents Mini Guide to Loving Your Stepchildren
Becoming a step-parent can either be exciting or it can become a nightmare. Sharing parental responsibilities, visitation and discipline has to be agreed upon with all parties. Kids are smart and if they find a crack anywhere in the system, they will act upon it. Being a step-parent myself I know firsthand the road is not easy. Sometimes it is long and winding road and if you and your spouse do not agree your time in the same space can be miserable.
If you establish ground rules and boundaries in the very beginning, you will should not be thrown any curve balls along the way. It isn't going to be an easy road but with a little understanding, communication and an abundance of love you will build a foundation that can last a lifetime.
1. Respect: First and foremost respect has to be established. The child/children normally have mixed emotions and are afraid that you may take there parent away. Many already suffer abandonment issues, becoming there friend first and not trying to play the role of mom or dad helps in the transitional period. If you strong arm at the beginning you are going to have a defiant child who is going to make your life very uncomfortable for quite a long time.
2. Communication: You and your spouse must always have an open line of communication. Children are tough and ground rules have to be established both parent and step-parent have to sit down and lay out the rules it won't be easy at the beginning however consistency in the household will make your world a lot easier.
3. Listen: What I have noticed in myself versus some of my closest friends, is that the do not listen to there step-children and treat them like Aliens. Creating a division instead of unification. This is an absolute no-no listening and understanding brings both child and step-parent together.
4. Participation: Being active and getting involved with your step-child/or children can be a very exciting time as it enables you to bond with them and learn there likes, dislikes and there needs. Plan activities as an entire family or just a simple one-on-one sitting on the couch and eating bon-bons or watching a football game is not going to get them to be attentive to you.
5. Power Hour: Before Power Hour the child/children write down what they wish to speak about. On the time and date set the child/children will present to the parents what there thoughts, feelings, and emotions are. It is an open discussion which enables the child/children to open up and express what the issues are. It also enables the parents to get a clear understanding of what is happening and what they can do to resolve any misconceptions.
These are the basics of becoming a well established step-parent. There isn't any right or wrong when mixing families, you just have to figure out what works best for you.
So what makes your step-children different from your own? Nothing. It is all about guidance, love, respect and understanding.
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