Being a step-parent is no easy task. Children will do what they can to test your patience and limits. Things can be awkward in the beginning, especially once you and the child’s biological parent begin living together and getting serious. One of the best ways to have a great relationship with your step-children is to let them know you’re there to help them, listen when they need to talk, help with homework and want to see them succeed.
You’re not my Mom/Dad
When a step-child doesn’t get their way, this is likely one of the first things you’re going to hear. A lot of step-parents make the mistake of always saying yes to try to keep the peace or score points with the kids. This only works for so long because eventually you’re going to say yes to something the biological parent doesn’t want them to do. Always discuss things with your partner before just saying yes.
You’re Not a Real Parent
Just because a step-parent doesn’t have kids of their own it does not mean that they’re not a real parent. Kids need to think about what they say before they say it. Something like this is often said after a divorce where the child is still bitter from the separation and splitting of a household. Don’t take this to heart, the child is just upset and needs to relax awhile.
Are You Two Going to Have More Kids?
In some cases, step-children want brothers and sisters to play with. In other cases, they don’t want new siblings because the attention is taken off of them. Reassure the step-child that you may eventually have children with their parent but it won’t take any attention or time away from them.
Ready to Be My New Mom/Dad?
Entering into a relationship with someone that has children does not mean that you immediately jump into parenthood. This takes time. Couples need time to grow and get to know each other. When you have a great relationship with your partner’s children, this question might come up. Let them know that you’d be honored to be their step-mother or step-father and that you’ll do everything you can to make sure they have what they need and are happy.
Are You Mean?
A lot of kids have the perception that step-parents are mean. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes the children of your partner are a bit out of control or will try their best to test your limits. It is important to be firm but not too firm. Children will react in a negative way if you are overly strict with them. Try to explain the difference between being mean and being a parent.
It isn’t easy to transition into life with a new partner that has children. Just take things slow and let the biological parent do most of the parenting. Discuss with them when it’s appropriate for you to make independent decisions and when it’s okay to step in. The last thing you want to do is overstep your boundaries.