Being the stepparent in a new blended family will often be an awkward position not just as a parent but for the children as well. As a stepparent, there’s always the nagging feeling the children of the biological parent will not accept you in the parental role.
As discouraging as it may seem, it’s important to consider how the situation is affecting your stepchildren and the family as a whole. The following are some tips to help to make this transition easier for everyone in a blended family and how you can better shape your role to fit into your new family together.
Relax Your Expectations
Even if the children involved in a new family merger were friendly before the marriage takes place, it’s highly likely their opinions may change after the wedding.
Children can be fickle. Their minds will often change on a dime in favor of some different set of living conditions better fitting their current idealistic viewpoint. Instead of being alarmed, it’s best to allow the situation time to play out and this phase to pass.
Always allow for time and healing to take place. Everyone needs a moment to adjust. It might mean a few months for some and years for others.
Handling the Ex-Spouse
When you marry into a family with children, a new family relationship will usually come with some attachment to an ex-spouse. The ex-spouse will often want to see their kids and the kids will want some attachment with their other biological parent.
In most situations, this will place you at a disadvantage. Also, it won’t be a good example for stepkids as well. Don’t seek fights. Try to keep your disagreements between the two of you – keep the kids out of it.
If things get out of hand, it may call for you to consult with a family lawyer like Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Offices Chtd, to determine a legally tactful course of action to take to preempt the problem of an ex-spouse creating issues with your new family situation.
If possible, pursue a cordial relationship with the ex-spouse. An ex-spouse may prove beneficial in helping you become an accepted authority figure in the new family relationship.
Take Time to Listen
As the stepparent in a new family relationship, it’s your responsibility to listen to the concerns raised by your stepchildren. If they don’t believe you are willing to listen and address their concerns, then you’ll never succeed in winning their trust or admiration.
If your stepchildren genuinely believe they can talk with you about what bothers them, this goes a long way towards helping them understand you’re in their corner. It will also help reduce a lot of unnecessary drama along the way. Be open and willing to hear each child.
Fairness and a friendly environment will help your mixed family to heal. With every new family relationship, there are going to be issues. It’s unrealistic to think that just because two people get married, the kids will be perfectly fine with the new arrangement.
In many situations, stepchildren will exhibit a range of behaviors from fear to resentment towards their new stepparent. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you to better navigate these troubled waters and bring the situation to a more manageable state.