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Health Information For Parents
Becoming a stepparent by blending families or marrying someone with kids can be rewarding and fulfilling. If you’ve never had kids, you’ll get the chance to share your life with a younger person and help to shape his or her character. If you have kids, they can build relationships and establish a special bond that only siblings can have.
In some cases, new family members get along without a problem. But sometimes there are bumps in this new road.
Figuring out your role as a parent — aside from the day-to-day responsibilities that come with it — also may lead to confusion or even conflict between you and your partner, your partner’s ex, and their kids.
While there’s no easy formula for creating the “perfect” family, it’s important to approach this situation with patience and understanding for the feelings of all involved. Here’s how to make things easier as you adapt to your new role.
The initial role of a stepparent is that of another caring adult in a child’s life, similar to a loving family member or mentor. You may desire a closer bond right away, and might wonder what you’re doing wrong if your new stepchild doesn’t warm up to you or your kids as quickly as you’d like. But relationships need time to grow.
Start out slow and try not to rush into things. Let things develop naturally — kids can tell when adults are being fake or insincere. Over time, you can develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your stepchildren, which doesn’t necessarily have to resemble the one they share with their birth parents.
Children who are mourning the loss of a deceased parent or the separation or divorce of their birth parents may need time to heal before they can fully accept you as a new parent.
For those whose birth parents are still alive, remarriage may mean the end of hope that their parents will reunite. Even if it has been several years since the separation, kids (even grown ones!) often cling to that hope for a long time. From the kids’ perspective, this reality can make them feel angry, hurt, and confused.
Other things that may affect the transition into stepparenting:
Knowing ahead of time what situations could be a problem can help you prepare. Then, if complications arise, you can handle them with an extra dose of patience and grace.
All parents face difficulties now and then. But when you’re a stepparent, they can be harder because you’re not the birth parent. This can open up power struggles within the family, whether it’s from the kids, your partner’s ex, or even your partner.
When times get tough, putting kids’ needs first can help you make good decisions. Here’s how:
It also helps to “spread” rewards and punishments across both households. When kids do a good deed and earn praise or a privilege in one household, they should receive similar praise or rewards when they go back to the other household. The same goes for punishment, such as loss of electronics time for breaking a house rule. This can help kids feel like both families are on the same page, and it keeps one parent or household from being the “good guy” or the “bad guy.”
No matter how your new family came to be, chances are there’ll be some challenges along the way. But even if things start off a little rocky, they still can (and probably will) improve as you and your new family members get to know each other better.
No guide can guarantee a way to steer kids unscathed through a divorce. Every situation – and every family – is different. But these commonsense guidelines might make the adjustment a bit easier.
By minimizing the stress a divorce creates, being patient as everyone adjusts to the new situation, and responding openly and honestly to your kids’ concerns, you can help them through this difficult time.
How can you get along better with your parents and have more fun together? Follow these five steps.
Disruptive as moving can be for parents, the experience can be even more traumatic for kids. Here’s how to make moving less stressful for the whole family.
Parenting is incredibly challenging and rewarding. Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help.
What makes a good marriage? What’s it like to live in a blended family or with divorced parents? Hear kids talk about what they love about family and what frustrates them.
How do kids feel about marriage and divorce? Hear what they had to say.
Divorce is tough for everyone involved, including kids. Find out more in this article.
Millions of kids live with just one parent. Are you one of them? Find out more in this article for kids.
Do you have a stepmom or stepdad? Lots of kids do. Find out more in this article for kids.
Moving isn’t easy for anyone. Get some advice in this article for kids.
If you’re dealing with your parents’ divorce, it may seem hard, but it is possible to cope and have a good family life in spite of the changes divorce can bring.
Because everyone’s situation is different, there are no easy answers to accepting a stepparent. But here are some ideas to help you deal.
It’s normal for family members to disagree once in a while. Learn how keep your cool during an argument.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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