As a Step Parent, do you feel like an Outsider?
Being the cool step parent means not trying to take the place of the original parent, or coming across as if you were trying to do that.
Table of Content
1. Trying to Parent your Stepchildren
2. Being a Step-Parent what they don’t tell you
3. So you want to be a Successful Step Parent
4. Making it work as a stepparent
5. The Reality of being a Stepparent
Trying to Parent your Stepchildren
Resentment is a familiar feeling that comes up in a stepparent relationship. There is the resentment that the child is now the most important person when they are in the room. The child may be treated with more generosity or care than your partner may have shown you.
Reassure stepchildren that the stepfamily is not a replacement for the first family. Make sure stepchildren know the new stepparent is there to add to, not subtract from, the family’s unity and isn’t meant to replace the original parent.
You get the blended family or perhaps stepfamily once you and your partner start to build a life jointly with the children from one or both of your previous relationships.
Including the stepchildren ensures that they don’t feel left out of the new, blended family, and they can find their own role in the family dynamic.
No matter how hard everyone involved works to make a visit or custodial transition easy for a stepchild, it’s never going to mend that void of not having mom and dad truly together as a functioning couple.
Being a parent, I really daydream about the very idea of raising a child within a world where ever the streets are really safer and also moms and dads can let their kids run unhampered throughout the neighborhood, his or her systems clearly tested using the physical exercise associated with play. (Raising a Healthy Child)
When you’re deciding who pays for the stepchildren, things sometimes get complicated.
So, start by acknowledging that there is an adjustment process, know mistakes will be made. Don’t forget to allow for each person’s different feelings, and recognise that it often takes a while for new relationships to form.
Children from a stepfamily often live with one adoptive or biological parent, or they may live with either natural or adoptive parents for some time.
In the beginning, the couple is working well together, any boundaries between households are very clear, and stepparents have got specific roles with the children. At this stage, the need is in solidifying the stepparent’s part, and in continuing the process of awareness.
Perhaps the greatest challenge in a blended family is accepting that a preference toward biological children is usual.
The stepfamily often finds it challenging to feel like a family as the spouse may not feel equal to the children. This can be because a biological parent and their biological child have a stronger bond, which is separate from the marriage.
What is considered a step parent?
According to the Family Law Act 1975, you’re a step-parent if you: are not a biological parent of the child. are or were married to, or a de facto partner of, one of the child’s biological parents. treat the child as a member of the family you formed with the biological parent, or did so while you were together. Raising Children
This is particularly hard for the children, their expectations and roles change between the homes of their birth parents and families.
When both parents remarry partners that have existing families, it can mean children suddenly find themselves with different roles in two blended families.
Always remember that as a stepparent entering into marriage following a divorce between two living parents, give the stepchild time and space.
When you’ve survived a painful divorce or separation and have now managed to find a new very loving relationship. The temptation is often to rush into remarriage and a blended family without first laying solid foundations.
Being a Step-Parent what they don’t tell you
As time moves on, you realise there’s a place for you, that your stepfamily is just as valid as a traditional one. The pain of not sharing past experiences will start mattering less to you than the future you’re building together.
Our little girl had been fantastic about trying and eating pretty much anything, and then suddenly she turned 3 years of age. Now it’s just about nearly impossible for her to enjoy anything at all apart from corn with regards to veggies. And So I needed to put together some entertaining and quite often cunning ways in which to get certain vegetables inside her. (Children Eating their Vegetables)
Never forget a stepchild will develop those feelings of love and respect for you without using the term Dad or Mom. And when they do decide to use that term, demonstrate quiet gratitude and live up to the title.
As the parent with the responsibility, you could make the decision to involve your husband in the day to day-care and parenting of your children, and this could include disciplining them when necessary.
Additional challenges that stepfamily’s face is often those regarding the paternal parents and the bond that protective parents have with their children.
When you’ve got kids are dealing with two different sets of rules in the two homes, it’s perhaps time for an adults family meeting. Never forget that kids can learn to work the system for short-term gain but long-term problems.
Accepting that your stepchildren don’t regard you a part of their family is another beast entirely. That’s one that far too many stepparents are forced to face.
There are times when the biological parent doesn’t give up their parental rights and/or custody of the child. Then the other parent’s subsequent marriage cannot create a relationship without the biological parent’s written consent before a “child” reaches adulthood.
Are Step Parents real parents?
Stepparents might be vilified, but they are vilified one at a time — not as a class. However, the systematic bias against them is very real. Just as the law prefers parents to be one male and one female, the law prefers to limit the number of parents to two. Time
Successful step-parenting and blended families are because of the committed stepparent.
The biological parent maintains a relationship to the children and new spouse and their children, therefore must position the stepparent as their teammate.
When the stepparent adopts the stepchild, it’s either the other parent gives up parental rights, the court ends those rights, or the other biological parent is deceased.
These relationships can become very complex, mainly when each brings children of their own to the home. Or those households where children are expected to actively participate with each of newly created family of both birth parents.
When you would like your relationship with your partner and your new stepchildren to work. You’ve got to learn to be OK with this fact and avoid getting in the way of the impenetrable parent/child bond.
By breaking down the process of becoming a stepparent into distinct stages, you can start recognising patterns and pick apart each emotion separately. Then it’s easier for you to accept, deal, know that hard is normal, forgive yourself, and move on to the next stage.
You must include the new spouse in any parenting decisions, perhaps have a date night, even just a few minutes each day without interruption. Connecting as a couple are a few simple but significant ways to communicate the unity of the family to the children.
So you want to be a Successful Step Parent
- Studies suggest that the risk for kids developing behavioural problems after divorce is twice that of children with parents who stay together.
- When a stepparent doesn’t understand a need for the child to have a bond with their biological parent, family and marriage problems can arise.
- The parent who stepparents satellite kids could have a harder time bonding because of less time spent with their step kids.
- Let the biological parent be primarily responsible for discipline until the step-parent has developed stable bonds with the kids.
- Special time is a reminder for the child about how important they are to their parent. More so as the household changes and parents put their attention on a new partner or other children.
- Ideally, those couples in a serious relationship need to discuss parenting styles and roles in the family before making the commitment to create a blended family.
- For those children who have spent a long time in a one-parent family, or still nurture hopes of reconciling their parents. These are the children that may have difficulty accepting a new person.
- Following your partners lead for discipline, and the child will feel more in control of their life, placing less blame on you.
- Right strategies, combined with open communication and a willingness to work hard at the relationship, can help new families blend successfully.
Making it work as a stepparent
Within the biological family, there would be problems if there was no expectation that you will love your children, they’ll love you back, and will be closer.
Children of divorced parents have already experienced the upset of people they trusted who let them down and may not be very keen to give second chances to a new step parent.
No matter what the biological ex-spouse may have done, always respect the child’s need to love that parent. The same goes for requiring that the stepchildren call you Dad or Mom. You should never demand it or even ask for it.
For the best chance of success in creating a blended family, it’s essential to start deciding how the new family is to function before the marriage even takes place.
Children who live with you part-time should have certain chores, routines, and responsibilities that make them feel like a part of your household when they are with you. Still, discipline should be kept to only when it is necessary.
Essential things for bonus parents is to not force themselves on children and to take more of a mentor-like position in the beginning.
It’s much harder for the marriage in a blended family since you don’t have the time to adjust as a couple as with most first marriages.
Tots as well as babies are generally more prepared to learn baby sign language faster than was once considered and now what had previously been limited to people hard of hearing or deaf is fast turning out to be an alternative language for young children. (Baby Sign Language)
Parenting success depends on relationships and overcoming the difficulties we don’t “talk about.”
Being the second wife/husband/important person does have benefits. The main one is that your partner already has a realistic idea of the work that’s required to make a marriage work.
No matter how difficult or awkward things seem at first, with open communication, mutual respect, and plenty of love and patience. Yes, you can develop a close bond with your new stepchildren and form an affectionate and successful blended family.
No matter if it’s the challenges of a boisterous family or making space for the emotions that can erupt in any household. Perhaps the sadness of saying goodbye to a child as they depart with daddy, parents do need somebody they can talk to relieve the stress of parenting in a blended family.
Your role as a parent, aside from the daily responsibilities that come with it may also lead to confusion. Perhaps even conflict between you and your partner, your partner’s ex, and their kids.
Regardless of the struggle with specific issues, men and women who have created and lived in blended families say it’s often the little things that trip you up, leading to fallout.
To work towards a positive, healthy relationship with stepchildren is crucial to the new, blended family’s success and longevity.
What is Step Family Day?
National Step Family Day on September 16th recognizes all the blended families making it work. In the USA, over 30% of the under 18 population live in a stepfamily environment. Also known as a blended family, parents, siblings and extended family members work together to create happy, functional environments. National Day Calendar
Never forget that the best thing you can do for your stepchildren is to form a strong family foundation and focus on your relationship with your spouse.
Knowing and defining your role as a stepparent is an essential step in becoming part of a family with your partner and your stepchildren.
The Reality of being a Stepparent
Unity in any couple’s relationship bridges the emotional gap between the stepparent and stepchildren and positions both adults to lead the family.
Frequently the biological parent tries to push the relationship, expecting that the children will automatically fall in love with the stepparent just because he or she did.
Focus on yourself and things that bring you joy outside of your family, while still finding tiny moments to connect with the kids if possible. And also try to focus on improving your relationship with your partner.
Learning how to start reading can be quite a frustrating experience for quite a few young children. It would appear that absolutely everyone from our little one’s teacher to moms and dads and not to mention grandma is looking forward to and patiently waiting for your son or daughter to be able to learn to read. (Fun Ways for Children to Learn How to Read)
But this can often create problems as there are many challenges a stepparent faces that usually don’t exist for the parent. Issues that make it exhausting, and sometimes impossible, to parent another’s child, especially early on in the relationship.
The stepparent tries too hard for affection and approval, and by doing so, inadvertently pushes the kids away. Simply because they feel resentful and guilty about this person who is trying to supplant their mom or dad.
Whenever a parent demands loyalty, the child thinks if I like my stepparent or have fun with her, it will hurt my mom. Therefore the child may resist a relationship with their stepparent, or even worse, start acting out against them.
Complex stepfamilies, where both parents bring children to the fold, should still negotiate rules together. Yet, each takes the lead role with their own children.
Remember to keep doing those things you did when you were dating their parent. This could be such as bringing little gifts from time to time. Occasionally slipping teens some gas money, or arranging time alone with the stepchildren.
Making It work as a stepparent it’s a whole lot harder than parenting.
The relationship between stepparent and stepchild will take years to develop and forcing it may actually delay things. It could even prevent it from ever happening, as negative feelings and resentments build.
What your child is experiencing when you remarry?
Loss. As their parents date, develop serious relationships, and eventually decide to remarry, children may be reminded of their original family and of the life they once had with their mother and father. … Some children may show signs of increased attachment to the parent who is getting married. Healthy Children
Research shows it takes 4-7 years for a stepfamily to feel and function like a family, so those first years are an adjustment, to say the least, for everyone.
Most couples with a stepfamily, think that the family will immediately gel. That the relationships will be tight, everyone will feel the love and the family will be a happy one.
Unless the stepparent and child are bonded, the child will feel as though the stepparent is butting into their business. This may cause the child to feel the resentment of their stepparent. Your interference can prevent your new spouse and your stepchild from learning how to resolve problems on their own and can harm your marriage.
Many shared years includes memories and experiences that the step-parent will never be a part of.
Try telling your partner how wonderfully they support their child, and how you would love to feel that support in the relationship you have with each other as well.
Stop thinking you can’t be happy until you’ve check-marked whatever next box that’s on your wish list of blended family goals. Instead, practice gratitude for every single teeny tiny baby step along the way.