Being a step parent can be trying at times. If you watch any Disney movie, you know there is a stigma there of unruly step parents with scary motives. But, in all reality— you’re just trying to navigate your role and figure out where you fit in when it comes to being a step parent, and what that entails. So we’re going to try and help you figure it out. You’ve been a step parent for a while now, and you might still feel iffy— so we’re going to give you a few pointers on how to be a better step parent. From making yourself a little more confident, to making them feel a little closer to you. This journey isn’t easy, but you’ll be one step closer to figuring it out.
Becoming a Better Step Parent
Hold off on the parenting bit
If they aren’t your kids, it isn’t your job to discipline them. Especially not in the beginning. Embrace your role of a secondary parent. That means you get to be there for the child, cheer them on— but be hands off when it comes to the not so fun stuff.
While it might make you feel as if you’re in the background a bit, wait until you’ve established a deeper understanding of the child before you dive right in. It might take a year or more, but in the meantime— you get to be the fun one. That’s not all bad!
Be patient through their process of accepting you
Understand that while you and your spouse have chosen each other— the kids are kind of involuntary along for the ride. It might sound harsh, and believe me— it’s not meant to be. But, you’ve gotta go with the growing pains. A child, especially one who still has a divorce fresh in their mind— is going to be a little jaded.
They’re probably still under the impression that mom and dad will work it out, and your presence might have thrown a wrench in that. I know it’s tough to hear, but better coming from me than from the kids in a fit of anger. Be patient with them. It might take some time, but I guarantee— one of these days, they’ll extend a hand and it will all be worth it.
If you’re feeling unsure, talk to your spouse
Being a step parent, especially a new one, is tough business. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. There are so many boundaries that you’re left to figure out on your own. Every child is different, and every parenting style is as well. If you’re feeling unsure about your role, or even discouraged— talk with your spouse.
They might not be able to provide a solution, because ultimately— the solution is time. But, you can vent. You can express your frustration, and get it all off your chest. As we’ve said, you have a tough new role to fall into. Finding ways to be a better step parent to your step children is trying at times. Take your time, find your peace, and know that with time— you’ll get there.