6 Tips for New Stepparents

6 Tips for New Stepparents

Parenting is a challenge all on its own, but stepparents often face even greater challenges that can be extremely difficult to overcome. But a stepfamily can offer a new chance at having a loving, family life for both you and your stepchildren. To help make the transition as smooth as possible, here are some tips for new stepparents that can assist in building a strong and loving blended family.

Be Patient

Your partner’s children may not accept you as quickly as you wish, and that’s a reality that you have to deal with. It will be a difficult and confusing time for them, so go slow. You want them to understand that you’re not there to replace their other parent, but rather to be a new addition to the family.  If they seem distant, give them the space they need but also let them know that you’re there for them to talk to and that you would very much like to be a part of their life. The key is to offer this sentiment without pushing them.

Set Up Family Bonding Activities

By setting up family bonding activities, you can show your step kids that you want to be part of their life.  Fun activities will help them open up and lighten up. It will give you some quality time to get to know them a little better while enjoying each other’s company.

Don’t Overstep Boundaries

Before you discipline your partner’s children, make sure you understand and follow their parental style and values. This is important to avoid confusing the children and overstepping your boundaries. In blended families, it can be challenging as you both learn and adjust to your different disciplinary styles. But with some direction and counselling it can be possible to find the perfect medium.

Exercise Authority

You may not be their parent, but you’re still an adult and should be respected. The mistake that’s common among new stepparents is when they try to become friends with their stepchildren but end up getting walked over because they don’t exhibit enough authority. You can, of course, be a friend, but just make sure that they respect you. If or when they don’t, stand up for yourself and exercise your authority as an adult figure.

Individual Counselling

Being a new stepparent is difficult, especially during the initial stages. So make sure you that you take the time to talk to a professional and express your feelings. A counsellor will understand what you are going through and can help ease and guide you through the process.

Family Counselling

An excellent way to work through the initial phases of becoming a stepparent is to work together in family counselling. It will allow you, your spouse, and the children to talk about the difficult emotions that you’re each experiencing.
Ottawa Counselling has the expertise and the experience to get to the bottom of issues and can help you solve them together to become stronger as a blended family unit. Talk to our experienced counsellor today.