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Home / Parenting

Five blended family and step-parenting tips

 Don't expect your partner's children to like you or accept you from day one (Image: Shutterstock)

If you thought parenting is difficult, try being a step-parent. Also couples who have children from previous marriages or relationships are more likely to break up.

If you’re worried about how, it will all play out, you have every right to feel that way.

Rewarding and fulfilling as they may be, blended families come with their unique set of problems and challenges.

Don’t expect your partner’s children to like you or vice versa and accept you from day one. Before it gets comfortable for everyone, it may even take years. The two of you have to develop your relationship and build one with the children too.

The stress and pressure that it comes with can cause a rift. There is the likelihood that your children may not like each other, you or your partner.

To be honest, this can go anyhow.

Hoping you don’t become the evil step-mother or step-father, here are some helpful tips on how you can have success as a blended family:

  • Be realistic

Just because you and your partner are in love and at a good place does not mean you will have a seamless transition with the kids.

Don’t expect miracles to happen in three days. You need to acknowledge their feelings and loss whether it was as a result of a divorce, separation or death.

They will be hesitant to accept you especially if the other parent is alive and forming a bond with you will not come easy.

 Before dating, always know exactly what you are getting yourself into (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Know what you’re getting into

The expectations society has put on step-parents is way unrealistic. You need to understand the implications a blended family comes with.

You have no room to make mistakes because it can cost you a lot. You or your spouse may be involved in custody battles and one small problem can lead to big problems that can result in divorce or separation of the two of you.

  • Take it slow

Don’t rush things and go with your step-children’s flow. Do not force them to like leave alone love you when they don’t even know you.

If there is mutual respect between you and them take that for starters as you build on a relationship with them.

Take an active parenting role by showing interest in the things they like, listening to them, being supportive and kind to them. As they continue to know you and trust you, they will get to a place where they will accept you and reciprocate the love.

  • Set boundaries

The best way to avoid friction is to set boundaries otherwise the kids won’t know how to behave and what to abide to.

Set clear rules and let it be communicated. This however does not mean they won’t break them. Even your own children act out at times so don’t be too hard on them when they make mistakes.

And should you realize they’re breaking the rules intentionally, be patient. The mean phase will eventually pass.

  • Create balance

As much as you want to be involved in their lives and bond with them, don’t suffocate them with your constant presence.

Kids will want to spend solo time with their biological parent and so will the parent so please let them be. Respect that and give them the space to enjoy each other’s company without any interruptions or interference.

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