10 ways of dealing with Stepchildren
1. Don't expect too much too soon. You will not gain instant acceptance
. A Stepfamily
is created from loss
, so there is a lot of grief
that needs to be dealt with before true acceptance can begin.
2. Don't become a disciplinarian
to your Stepchildren
too soon. It takes some very careful planning with your spouse
to create a new set of rules and a new philosophy
for dealing with a blended family
. It also takes trust; both from the parents
and the children
. Take it slowly, be patient
and don't make the mistake of saying: "Don't make me tell your mother
3. Create a plan that treats the full-time children and the part-time children fairly. Stability
will provide security
to children (and adults!) who are recovering from divorce. Don't be a "Disneyland Parent
". If something goes wrong, treat all of the children in a consistent
4. BE CONSISTENT! When you make a rule, stick to it! Follow through with everything
. If you slack
, there will be problems.
5. Make consequences and rewards. A rule of physics: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction
." The same goes with good and bad behavior
. If you create well-defined consequences
for bad behavior there will be no second guessing or contradictions. The same goes for good behavior. This is also a good way for a Stepparent
to begin working with discipline. The goal here is to teach children to self-discipline
...then there will be no need for consequences.
6. Make new rituals
. You are a new family! Create something new as a family. Go out to breakfast
. Go fishing on a certain holiday. Do something that wasn't done in the previous families. Make the Stepfamily yours and bond
with new tradition
7. Be an adult. If your Stepchild screams "I hate you!", don't scream "I hate you too!". You are an adult, act like one. You must disconnect from instant anger
. It's okay to voice frustration, but don't do it out of anger. Do not let the children get to you. If they are, then put some distance between you and them until you can get a better handle on your emotions
8. Let them know your feelings. Hopefully you have the desire to love your Stepchildren. If you don't, you haven't got a prayer! It's not hard to love...just let yourself do it. Tell them you love them, but don't expect to hear it back. Just do it for you. They'll reward you when they're ready.
9. Let them call you what they want--as long as it's respectful. If they want to call you by your first name, LET THEM! Don't make them call you Daddy
(they already have one). They will find a name for you, accept it and be happy.
10. NEVER, NEVER talk badly about their other parent! Sure, their dad may be a drunk
, mom may be a crack whore
...so what. To the children, their parents are probably gods. Respect their feelings for their parents, to do less will only harm you.
Try this and see where it takes you.