How do blended families make step-parenting work?

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  1. Winter Maclen profile image61
    Winter Maclenposted 12 years ago

    How do blended families make step-parenting work?

    I am married for a second time and blessed that my husband believes my three kids are his own.  His interactions, reactions and parenting are all those of a biological parent and we work together well as a parenting team.  But a lot of our middle-age friends who are remarrying are struggling with one another's kids.  Any ideas?

  2. Rusti Mccollum profile image59
    Rusti Mccollumposted 12 years ago

    With A lot of love, Faith in God and Don't try to replace the  parent with a new version.The children have 2 parents ,usually. make sure you say I love you everyday.Give them respect until they disrepect you.I have had a blended family for   30 years and still with hubby! Good luck to you,

  3. smzclark profile image60
    smzclarkposted 12 years ago

    I am the mother of a child who my husband is the step-parent of...

    I think that a lot of step parents think that as soon as they become a step parent this gives them the right to discipline etc. This is far from the case! Respect, Trust and Love all have to be earned and this takes a lot of hard work, time and a crazy amount of patience.

    A child with a step parent has already lost one parent, whether they've passed away or moved down the street after a divorce; that child has lost a parent and cannot be expected to trust that the same won't happen to the step parent. Children can also blame the step parent for the loss of the other parent (whether or not the step parent is at fault---) and/or be angry that this step parent is trying to replace their biological parent. And the child can also feel threatened by the step parent and jealous because they have to share their parent with this step parent...

    I think that step parents should step back and let the biological parent do the heavy punishing etc. and just be the childs friend until that trust, love and respect is earned. And the step parent needs to understand that the child/children will still need that parent all to themselves sometimes (like it used to be). It is a very slow process and much patience is needed from every member of the household.

    The biological parent needs to understand how difficult this is for their new spouse and for their child and needs to support both of them equally and talk to both of them regularly about how it is going for them. And ask them if there anything that can be done to make the transition easier for them both.   

    The worst thing that the biological parent can do is undermine the step parent in front of the child...

  4. MickS profile image60
    MickSposted 12 years ago

    What's a 'blended family'?  Have they all been in the juicer?

  5. Cre8tor profile image91
    Cre8torposted 12 years ago

    Every situation is so unique. My family is made up of his, hers, and ours. We love equally, we give equally, and we speak equally. There are no words of step or half in our home. Not that they're forbidden, they just aren't used. We are also very lucky to have working relationships with the "other" parents. Growing up in a home where the mention of the other parent was taboo; our children speak freely of them. This has also helped prevent major differences in parenting or the unawareness of those differences. If there is wrong-doing by a parent, the child MUST come to this realization on their own.

    Not to run on but, since I've been on both ends of this situation...the worst thing that can be implemented is force, in all senses of the word. As a step-parent, look for those opportunities to "be there" and the children will come into this without resistance in most cases.

  6. pprslja1 profile image60
    pprslja1posted 12 years ago

    Well, I am not currently married but engaged.  My fiance has three children of her own 8, 15 and 18yrs old.  I have a child of my own that is 2yrs old.  Even though situations may vary, I find mine to be pretty challenging. 
         Parenting begins with parents.  First you have to understand that not because you are a mother or father it doesn't mean that you are a parent.  A parent should put children first meaning that you have to be selfless and make the best decisions for your children while showing them how to do the same.  Since the maternal and paternal parents are not in one household, the children should be given the opportunity to spend as much time with each because both are necessary to the development of a child. 
         While the child may resent the fact that both parents don't dwell together they must be willing to look, listen and learn from the step parent.  The step parent must be willing to love and nurture the child as if it were his or her own.  A basic rule for me is treat the child how you would APPRECIATE your own being treated.  Another one is treat your partner how you would like your son or daughter to be treated when they become adults.
         With lots of love the bond should become stronger every day from there on out.

  7. michellecasey profile image60
    michellecaseyposted 12 years ago

    Takes a lot of fine tuning.  Every situation is different because every adult and child is different.  Whatever the case, be sure to discuss whatever parameters w/the spouse, and stick to it.

    Don't undermine your spouse in front of the kids, or the kids will learn that the spouse isn't capable of asserting their parental authority.  Whatever disagreements you have regarding the raising of the children, discuss them in private away from the kids.  The children need to see both parents as a joint-union without any weak links, or they will work the loopholes (so-to-speak).

  8. SMD2012 profile image92
    SMD2012posted 12 years ago

    Put the marriage first. If the two parents seem divided or unstable in any way, the whole family will feel it. I highly recommend reading Wednesday Martin's book Stepmonster. It's a thoroughly researched book, with candid stories from real people who have experienced the ups and downs of blended family life. Good luck to your friends who are struggling. Let them know that they're not alone, and that what they are experiencing is probably more common than they realize.

  9. roxanne459 profile image81
    roxanne459posted 12 years ago

    All of these answers have hit on some really valid points and I would like to add my support of those. In simple terms there are some essential things that need to be established or it will fail.
    There has to be firm Boundaries and the step-parent needs to support the relationship between their new spouse and  his/her child. Encourage them to do things on their own and foster that relationship so you aren't perceived as someone who is trying to inject yourself between them. Remember that it was just them before you came in the picture and the child needs to know you aren't trying to take their mom/dad away from them.
    Finally: communicate, communicate, communicate

  10. Winter Maclen profile image61
    Winter Maclenposted 12 years ago

    Wow. I am amazed at the thorough and helpful answers. As I stated previously, I have been lucky in this arena but this contains some great insights.  Like cre8tor, we don't use the word step in house.  Thanks for the helpful responses.


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