What Is the Best Step Parent Advice and No-no’s?
Being a step-parent naturally comes with challenges but when done right, it can be very satisfying.
But how do you prepare for the upcoming responsibility of being a stepparent?
The step family scenario is not uncommon.
The original family structure of biologically bonded mother, father and child is now giving way to a multitude of other forms of family, including stepfamilies. The step family statistics are staggering.
You’ve met the love of your life. You’re ecstatic. Over the moon.
They are perfect.
But on the inside, in addition to love, you are feeling some pretty intense feelings.
The marriage is a package deal and you’re becoming a step-parent. Stepparenting is an unchartered territory for you.
While this may be a deal breaker for some, you know a good thing when you see it but can you do this? At this point, you start looking for some helpful step parent advice.
So, what’s the most crucial step parent advice? As a mom of a bonus daughter and a biological daughter, I am here to tell you that you can pull it off.
I must be honest though.
Step-parenting can be a very scary thing and, not to mention, awkward.
You’re adding a new, little human to your own family and you are starting to wonder what type of influence you will have on your new additions.
You have decided to marry someone who is involved in their child(ren)’s life.
This means you will be assisting with raising the child and providing stability.
If you are struggling with what to do next, read on for some easy to follow step parent advice and effective step parenting tips.
How to be a good stepparent
1. Establish respect between you and the child
I say child, but this can be applied to multiple children.
Terms of respect should, initially, be laid out by the biological parent.
Before I married my husband, I remember he firmly told his daughter: “you see this woman, here? You need to respect her. I never want to hear you disrespecting her.”
He has said this to her multiple times in my presence and till this day, 4 years later, he still reminds her.
But here’s the key step parent advice.
As the step-parent, you are also obligated to give just as much respect to the child.
It’s not a one-way street. Their space, their unique family dynamic, and their feelings matter; never make them feel otherwise.
2. Be their friend
Once respect is understood, then comes friendship.
Yes, discipline is important but as you learn the best way to discipline (by watching the biological parent and by learning more about the child), smile, laugh, and play with them.
Do not be a stand-offish step-parent.
That’s the step parent advice that will help you ease into your relationship with your stepchild.
It will take some work but try your best to connect with the child. As far as discipline goes, talk to your future spouse about limits and what you’re both comfortable with.
I’ll never forget the evening I was playing and having a good time with my stepdaughter when I accidentally hit her (hard).
I comforted her and said sorry as she cried.
When her dad got home, he asked what happened. She said, “We were playing, and she accidentally hit me.” I exhaled a sigh of relief.
I don’t know why I expected her to portray me as the evil stepmother as I prepared to defend myself. She protected me as a friend.
3. Maintain a routine just between you and the child
It doesn’t have to be everyday but there should be something they can identify you with, such as going to the park, having tea parties, or evening bike rides.
I read to my stepdaughter at night and sometimes I watch her favorite YouTube channel with her.
She loves that because it’s just between me and her. In her eyes, I have earned a place in her heart.
4. Be aware, children will try to test you
Another useful step parent advice. Step parenting is not for the faint of heart.
Endure those growing pains. Don’t expect things to always be peaches and cream.
When I would pick my stepdaughter up from daycare, all the kids would yell “Your mom is here!” Very matter-of-factly, she would respond “she is not my mom.” And even though I knew that and wasn’t trying to take the place of her mom, to my surprise it hurt when she said that.
But I pushed those feelings aside to give her the love she deserved.
I gave her a warm welcome, realizing that she was still trying to figure things out herself and that she is entitled to express how she needs to.
So a piece of step parent advice no one tells you. Try not to let your feelings get the best of you when the child tests within boundaries, of course your authority (which they will).
Deal with the situation at hand and continue building the relationship.
My relationship with my stepdaughter is great today because I committed in my heart to be the best I can be for her.
I will never forget my mom’s step parent advice, “just love her”.
Those words still ring in my ear when my stepdaughter and I are having a difficult moment.
A final word on the challenges of step parenting
But over time and with consistency, the child will begin to trust you as a parent.
They will depend on you to lead them. And that’s a great feeling.
Can you think of someone you admire as a step-parent? Are you willing to marry someone who has children?
Then, follow these pieces of important step parent advice and strict no-no’s that will help you solve sticky situations that entail step parenting.
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