Becoming A Step Parent

Step parenting for the first time

Becoming a stepparent could be your golden ticket to having a child of your own, while also doing a good thing for the child’s sake.

On the other side of the stepparent spectrum is perhaps being a parent through marrying your partner who already has children of their own. This can be a very rewarding and fulfilling parenting experience.

You will have the wonderful opportunity to share your life with the child while helping them to shape a character of their own. If you already have children, then you will be offering them more ways to foster positive relationships and establish sibling bonds.

A lot of the time, your new stepchild will get along with other family members just fine but at other times you can be sure to expect some difficulties while growing up. It’s important to establish and agree on your role as a parent, besides your day-to-day responsibilities, so as not to lead to any confusion or conflict between your partner or ex-partner, and their children.

There’s no magic formula to creating a “perfect family’.  Dynamics in the home are unique. So, it is very important to approach your new family situation with patience and empathy for all involved. Here are some points on how to adapting to your new role that bit easier:

Start off slowly

Your initial role as a stepparent is that of being a caring adult in the child’s life. Like a loving member of the family or mentor, you may wish for a closer bond immediately, and wonder what you might be saying or doing wrong in the eyes of your stepchild, if they don’t really warm to you or your maternal children as naturally as you had hoped for but relationships take time to grow and build trust etc.

Starting out slowly and trying not to rush things is a solid approach. Allow things to naturally develop because children can tell when parents are being insincere or doing things in a fake way. As time passes, you will develop a deeper, meaningful relationship with your stepchild.

Some factors affecting your relationship

In cases where a child is mourning a deceased parent or perhaps the divorce of their natural parents, they may need some time to naturally heal before fully accepting you as their new parent.

For children whose birth parents are living, a  new marriage may signal the end of any hope that their own parents will reunite. Even if it was many years since their parents’ separation, children will often hang onto that hope for a long long time. From the child’s perspective, this new reality can make them feel anger, hurt, and frustration.

Preempting is key

By knowing ahead of time which family situations might be at first problematic, as a new stepchild joins the family, existing family members can help you to prepare for that. This way, if conflicts arise, you will know how to deal with them with more patience and grace.