Parents Guide to Parenting Stepchildren

by drlazarus on February 4, 2013

Blended families face many struggles. Suspicion, anger and expectations often prevent the family from bonding. There is hope, though. With hard work and time, blended families can find success together.

Tips for Kids

Stepchildren often feel resentment toward the new parent, anger at their birth parent and suspicion toward siblings. They must learn to respect and trust both parents while bonding with their siblings.

For starters, kids must accept that their new family won’t mimic their old family. Everything’s going to change, and they must accept their new reality.

The kids also benefit from being civil. Avoidance, withdrawal or rude behavior won’t build the kind of family kids want. To earn respect, they must show respect to their parents and siblings.

Tips for Parents

Building a family that’s full of love and affection is a process that takes time. Effective parenting requires consistency. Parents must shower love, selflessness and kindness equally on the biological and step children. There’s no room for favoritism.

Meanwhile, the family benefits from building relationships with each other. Each parent should spend personal time with each child doing activities the children enjoy, and the entire family should hang out and play together regularly.

Sometimes, discipline is necessary. Both parents must unite and agree on the consequences when kids break the rules. The biological parent should administer any discipline, though.

Parents must also be aware of splitting. Kids may play their biological parents against each other or try to get their biological and stepparent to fight against each other. When parenting stepchildren, the parental unit must be united and resist confiding in the kids or badmouthing the other parent.

Being a step family isn’t always easy. Relationship building takes time. Patience, communication, success, and negotiation are all effective parenting tools.

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