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    Living With Your Stepchild

    By Penny S. Harmon     

    Nobody ever claimed that being a stepparent is easy. In fact, most families with children from previous marriages, find that things can be quite tough in the beginning. The stepchild may feel like you’ve honed in on his or her family matters and they may resent you. You, as the stepparent may also resent the child, as he or she was the product of your partner’s other marriage. While these feelings are normal, they need to be handled with care in order for your marriage to work and the relationship with your stepchild to become stable.

    When a stepparent enters the picture, the child automatically presumes you are trying to take over the role of their other parent. While this may not be the case, you need to step cautiously here. There are certain do’s and don’ts of being a stepparent.

    Do not get involved with arguments between your stepchild and your spouse. This can only escalate the situation and both may feel you are taking sides. Unless the argument directly involves you, it is best to stay clear and even leave the room if necessary.

    Do not run to your spouse every time there is a confrontation between you and your stepchild. In the long run, your spouse will feel you are “picking at” their child. There is no bond stronger than that of a parent and child so you are better off to speak to your stepchild by yourself if he or she is talking to you in a tone you don’t like or misbehaving in front of you.

    Do let your stepchild know that you are not trying to replace or takeover the role of their other parent. Offer to be their friend only and if that doesn’t work immediately, remember that actions speak louder than words and you can prove this to your stepchild by not “trying” to be their other parent.

    Do suggest a family meeting night. This should be a time that everyone gets involved and states if something is bothering them. Be clear to the stepchild that there will be no repercussions from these family meetings-they can be truthful.

    Do schedule alone time for you and your spouse, as well as you and your stepchild. Depending upon your stepchild’s age, you can schedule an activity you both would enjoy, such as a trip to their favorite fast food restaurant or to go see a movie. This alone time is a great way to get to know your stepchild better.

    Of course, being a stepparent can be very difficult, but the important thing to remember is that it is difficult for the stepchild, as well. With time and a little patience, you will get through the difficult times and it is very possible to develop a great relationship with your stepchild.

    Written by Penny S. HarmonRate this article:

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