ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to be a Successful Step-Parent

Updated on June 20, 2013
Why are you here?
Why are you here? | Source


In today’s society, becoming a step-parent is a common occurence. The divorce rate remains relatively high as well as the number of unmarried parents. Being a step-parent, however, has to be one of the hardest positions in the world. As a step-parent, you inhabit that awkard position of not being a parent or even a relative, but still living with children on a daily basis. The children often view you as the villain because, to them, you do not belong. When I was a child, I grew up with several step-parents and I would like to share some tips and suggestions that I learned through this experience.

Expect Resentment

As the significant other of the child’s parent, you claim the position that used to belong to the child’s other parent. To the child, you are an usurper. You disrupt the natural flow of relationships. You also steal time away from that child’s time with their parent. A child’s resentment is natural and to be expected. If you are the first relationship after the parent’s have broken up, then expect even more resentment. No matter what has happened before, that child wants his mother or father back and you are in the way. Try not to resent the child’s resentment. A child in the middle of a divorce is stuck in the middle of a terrible situation. The child will likely feel that to like you is to betray the other parent. They may feel they have no choice but to hate you. Unfortunately, media such as children’s fairy tales only support this assumption.

Wherever mom, I go too
Wherever mom, I go too | Source

Don't Parent

You are not the child’s parent. Any attempt that you make to parent the child will be regarded as an attack upon the missing parent. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying let the child get away with everything. Simply, do not attempt to replace the missing parent. You can set boundaries, rules and limitations (with the permission of your significant other) but there is a separation between yourself and the child. Think of your position as being similar to a teacher or a coach. You need to build a relationship with the child instead of assuming one exists. I became extremely close with many of my step-parents as a child. The ones who became my friends and confidants never attempted to parent me.


You Can't Buy Love

Many step-parents attempt to negotiate with children via gifts of toys, games etc. It doesn’t work. Children know a bribe when they see one. They will take your gifts, but they won’t trust you and they probably won’t listen to you either. They may also develop a severe case of the “I wants” whenever you are in their vacinity. Don’t start the process because it is a head-ache to try to stop it.


Children in the middle of a divorce or separation often feel like they have no voice. They don’t want this to happen but nothing they say or do can stop it. Talk with you step-children. Not necessarily about what’s happening but about books, interests, tv shows, or cultural events. Talk to them as you would talk to an adult. Truly listen to what they tell you and respond accordingly. Children give respect where they are given respect. Be someone they can talk to and be heard.

If you insult the parent; you hurt the child
If you insult the parent; you hurt the child

Never Insult the Other Parent

Step-parents often end up embroiled in the arguments surrounding the divorce. They often become angry with their significant other’s ex for their behaviour toward their loved one. Despite your anger and frustration, never ever ever insult the other parent in front of your step-children. It destroys any trust they may feel toward you. It makes them feel guilty for liking you. Anything you say, they will probably tell their parent because he or she is still their mother or father. Think of how you would react if someone insulted your parents and act accordingly.

Step-parents as Step-Children

To the step-parents, are you also a step-child?

See results


As I said at the beginning of this post, being a step-parent is hard work. If you follow the above suggestions, you will find your way is a little bit easier. Try to remember that these children are hurting. Even if the parents have been separated for years and you are not the first significant other, these children are hurting. They may have developed relationships with the previous significant others and miss them on top of missing their parent. Just be a friend, if they will let you, and remember if you love the parent, the child is part of the package.


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)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)