Becoming a step-parent can be one of the most amazing, yet most challenging things you will ever experience. It can be tough to settle into a new role as a step-parent, but once you have ridden out the tough times, it is worth every moment of sacrifice.
There are many issues that are common to step-parents and through the experiences of others, you can learn a lot to apply to your own situation. Here are some common problems that new step-parents face, and what you can do to resolve these issues.
Disagreement with Your Spouse on Parenting Matters
No two homes are exactly the same, and chances are that you and your new spouse have come together from two households that have run things entirely different from one another. This can be a good thing. New habits and ways of life can be a good growing experience for all, and variety is the spice of life.
It can be a challenge at first, though. If you and your spouse parent in a completely different manner, there will be certain things that you will simply need to decide to agree upon. It will make it easier to blend a family when both parents in the home are on the same page in matters relating to parenting. Find a way to compromise on the major issues, and be a complement to each other on the decisions that are less important.
Disrespect from Your Stepchild
It is difficult for a child to suddenly have a new parent figure to adjust to when they had no choice in the matter. Respect will not always come easily from your stepchildren. Make a point of earning their respect as opposed to demanding it, and things will go more smoothly. Respect will happen naturally more and more as your new stepchildren learn that you are an individual that they can fully trust.
Your Spouse’s Ex Using Their Child to Get to You
When you marry someone with children, you are joining forever with that individual, their child, as well as their child’s other parent. It might seem like a silly way to look at it, but it is the truth. Whether you are helping your partner raise their children, or acting more as a friend role to them, you will likely have many interactions with their other parent.
Sometimes a spouse’s ex can become jealous and use their child to get to you in a negative way. If you sense this is happening, bring it up with your spouse when the children are not around. When the children are around, it is appropriate to show respect for their natural parents at all times. This will reassure them that you are not competing with, or trying to take the place of, their natural parent. This clears the way for a genuine, trusting relationship to succeed between all of you.
Lack of Bonding with Child
If it seems that your stepchild does not like you or doesn’t want to be around you, give it some time. It is often challenging for stepchildren to accept what has become their “new normal,” and it can take some time for everyone to get to know each other. Always extend friendship to your stepchildren, but be patient and willing to move at their pace, no matter how slow it may be. You will eventually get there.
Step-parenting is no easy task. Be patient with yourself and your stepchildren. In time you will realise that despite all the work, these relationships were worth every single effort.