The role of parent is one of the most demanding jobs there is and today, with all the various family structures, you have to really keep an open mind. Sixty years ago most marriages were “until death do us part.” That is no longer the norm. In fact, approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. And the reality of this is that you will probably end up raising stepchildren. Among other things, this report will pinpoint the insights you need to adapt to being a stepparent.
In cases where children have recently lost a parent, either because of death or because the parents separated, there will naturally be a sense of loss. Children that lose their parents early in their lives may not have a memory of them or remember the specific events that led to their departure or death. Your relationship with your partner may provide some complications, especially if the kids have been used to only the mom or dad in their everyday life. The best way to handle this is to stay out of the initial debates between the children and their biological parent regarding your presence. By properly dividing up your time with your spouse, and your spouse’s time with his or her children, things will begin to work out.
It is an entirely different situation dealing with teenagers opposed to dealing with grade school or preschool children. If this is the case, be ready to be ignored as most teenagers are not willing to accept their own biological parents at this point in time. Although you should not expect acceptance, you should still have some respect and disciplinary actions should still be adhered to. After all, parents aren’t the only authority figures in the lives of children -they also have teachers and others in the community as well. You must strike a balance as not only as an authority figure within their lives, but a friend that they can turn to in a time of need. Don’t, however, expect them to see you as a new parent, as this isn’t likely to happen with older kids.
There are not a lot of subjects that are more delicate for you as the stepparent than what part the original parent, if any, will play in the lives of your stepchildren. Even if the natural parent is no longer living, your stepchild will, of course, retain strong emotions about him or her. If there has been a divorce, it’s possible that your new spouse harbors ambivalent feelings about his or her ex. This can turn into a really sensitive situation. You must make it a point to present a positive or neutral facade when it comes to a biological parent who neglected or abused the kids. It’s better for the kids to remember their life with their biological parent in a positive light and you must allow them to retain their own version of what that life was like.
Although it would be nice if your role in this new family could be accepted instantly, that is probably not going to happen. It is important that you keep a positive frame of mind realizing that you will have a solid and happy family in the future once the step children have had time to adjust to you. It is important to know that you will not be able to manipulate your relationship with these children, and that with patience and love, you will be accepted.