ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice

How to Deal With Stepchildren

Updated on June 14, 2013

Psychologically Preparing to be a Step Mother

Realize that your life is going to change. Be sure you are equipped to handle arguments, embarrassments, and surprises (good and bad). Acknowledge that once a relationship is established, your husband will not always be around, and it is of the utmost importance that you have your own relationship with each child.

After all, once you are in it, you are in it for life. It is unfair for children to have to go through one break up, its even worse for them if they have to go through two or more.

Eliminate Jealousy on the First Meeting

When your relationship becomes serious enough, and it’s time to meet the kids, you may be able to avoid jealousy altogether. The first step is actually their father’s responsibility. He should ease his children into the idea of his dating. As he becomes closer to you, he should begin to mention you and the great qualities you have. This process, like any healthy relationship, takes a significant amount of time. The kids will be adjusting, gradually, to your possible presence. He should NEVER compare you to their mother, or discuss the disagreements the two of you have had..


ALWAYS allow their father to greet, hug, kiss and speak with them uninterrupted at every visit, especially the first meeting. It is most important that you are NOT viewed as a threat. When you are introduced, be polite and kind. It is important for you to ask a few questions about them and their lives. Please don’t make the first meeting about yourself; that would be a huge mistake. However, asking too many questions could be annoying. So, limit the questions, and allow them to dominate the conversation. Also, it is wise to answer all questions honestly.

It is important that you ALWAYS be complimentary of their father. If you have issues with him, keep it between the two of you. Defend their father if they talk about him in a disrespectful or inappropriate manner.


Compromise With Your Step Children When Possible

It is of the utmost importance that you compromise when possible. It is not your responsibility to give in every time either. However, if you show interest in meeting half way, it is likely your new step children will eventually be willing to compromise also. Discipline issues belong to their father, unless you are the primary care giver. If you find yourself in this situation, prepare to be tested. The children will be interested in finding out just how far they can push you. Don’t take it personally, that is normal child behavior.

All relationships require compromise to be successful. No two humans are exactly the same; so it is obvious there will be disagreements. How you handle the disagreements is what matters. If problems become too serious to discuss one on one, you can choose to involve their father. However, I would only do this as a last resort. I recommend you use a different form of communication first, if the children are older. Email, letters and notes can provide a dialog that is interrupted, deliberate, and fair to each party involved. It also shows a record of who says what.

What experience do you have with step families?

See results

Communication is Key

Once a relationship is established with each child, and you become upset with one of them, it is your responsibility to calmly discuss the issue with them privately. I recommend you choose a time to discuss the problem when you are not angry. You can even write a few notes to keep the conversation on track. It is a good idea to encourage them to bring their issues to you, personally. They will respect you and appreciate you treating them with respect.

Body language and tone of voice can communicate a completely different message than is intended, so you need to be aware of these. Eye contact will do two things for you. It shows that you are not intimidated by them, and that you care enough to pay attention to what they are saying.

Make absolutely sure you do NOT attempt to behave as if you are their mother. Your role is to be their step mother, their friend, and their Dad’s wife.

If you establish a non threatening relationship with your new step children and set a few ground rules; before you know it, you’ll be great friends!

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Seems like sound advice.

      Regarding: "Email, letters and notes can provide a dialog that is interrupted, deliberate, and fair to each party involved." -- the downside of this is that, because you don't have tone of voice and body language to help communicate and because you can't immediately backtrack and clarify if you are misunderstood, emails, letters, and notes can sometimes unintentionally cause misunderstanding and bad feelings.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thanks so much, Seeker7! I appreciate your kindness.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, FP.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What an excellent hub. Luckily I've never been in a position of having step children who were jealous. But if the situation ever arose I'd certainly look up your article. The advice is not only helpful, but realistic and balanced.

      Great hub + voted up!

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Well done Margie. I am one and was one. I have to admire my son's attitude. All he wants really is for his father to be happy.

      The Frog


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)