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How To Be A Successful Stepparent
People usually over-look or ignore the needs and feelings of their children and their spouse’s children when they remarry. It is not an easy task to be a successful stepparent. Children find it hard to cope with their parents divorce; they are not going to take kindly to a new person who enters the scene.
Very few children can accept a stepparent in a short period. How soon they are willing to accept you depends on how much effort you put in and how you behave towards them. It takes a great amount of time, patience, tolerance and understanding to be a successful stepparent.
It is best to refer to a counselor before entering a marriage, which involves having stepchildren. It is a difficult situation as most children will be hostile initially, but if you play your cards right you could win yourself a new friend. Since you need help getting over the sticky stages in the easiest way possible, here are some tips that show you how to be a successful stepparent.
- The most sensible thing to do would be to try to strike up a friendship with the children or at least some degree of familiarity before you enter into the marriage. This ensures that the children are in some degree prepared for your entrance into their home and lives (Keep in mind that they consider you an intruder, and will not appreciate you barging into their lives without even a basic relationship).
- If you are careful, kind and patient at this stage, you may find your task easier later on, as you will have something to build on. If you have not had a chance to build a basic relationship with your spouse’s children before marriage, it is still not too late.
- It is also a good idea to sit down with your spouse or partner and discuss parenting for you will have to follow the natural parent’s parenting style. If you feel that the natural parent is too lenient or overindulgent you could discuss in a gentle manner the issues like rules and responsibilities, with your spouse, and also find out a way to enforce a few mild rules, wherever required.
- When it comes to discipline and authority, your role as a stepparent will be more as a supporting figure of the spouse not an authoritative figure. Now this step requires you to be exceptionally forbearing for the children may be very hostile. If you try to dominate or control the children, your plans for a peaceful family life are likely to go awry.
- To be a successful stepparent you also need to give of your time to your stepchildren. At first the children may not be interested in spending time with you (remember they most likely hold you either partly responsible for their parents divorce or as a plain unwanted intruder). This is natural so do not be discouraged. As you gently persist in showing kind attention to your stepchildren, you will find that in time they will gradually respond.
- As a stepparent, you also have to remember that stepchildren need empathy and help coping with remarriage, because they already suffer enough anxiety from the loss of one parent. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you and your spouse do not shut out the children.
- It is also important for your spouse to spend time with his or her natural children so they do not feel as if they are being abandoned or ignored. This will reduce resentment towards yourself and they will not see you as merely the usurper of their parent’s affections and confidence. A little kindness and understanding will assist you to be a successful stepparent.
Tips and Warnings
- It is important to be positive in everything concerning your spouse’s ex-partner or deceased partner. This can be difficult, but if you show any animosity towards any of the children’s natural parents, it will increase your stepchildren’s resentment and make successful step parenting nigh impossible.
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