Having kids and turning from a couple to parents is as overwhelming as it is wonderful. It is an extremely demanding and daunting task, with no immediate returns in sight. If it is so overwhelming to become a parent, imagine just how difficult and challenging it would to be a step parent, especially a step mother. Fairytales have been very unfair with the woman who marries a man who already has children. Even movies do no better. They have perpetrated the myth of the cruel and evil step mother, leaving a permanent negative impression on the mind of children. It is, after all, understood that most women do not want to hurt the child of the man they plan to marry. Men, on the other hand, have their own set of problems to deal with, when it comes to marrying a woman who already has children. They also have to constantly match up to their image of what a good father should act like, peppered by their memories (mostly good ones) of their biological father. At the same time, a step parents has to tread with caution and patience; since even a slight mistake can make matters much worse, especially in the initial stages. In this regard, the step parenting advice detailed below will come handy.
How To Be A Good Step Parent
Here are some pointers that you should keep in mind when you are all set to become a new stepparent:
It is best to start familiarizing yourself with the child of your partner much before marriage. In fact, it is better to delay the marriage till the child gets a little used to having you around. Do not rush into marriage till the child knows who you are and you know what makes him/her tick. So, the whole thing will leave you less overwhelmed if you try ahead to befriend your partner’s child.
Even when a child is your own, it is wrong to expect too much out of him/ her. Here we are talking about a step child. Children who have had to separate from their parent because of a divorce or have lost their parent, will have extra expectations from you - the kind that takes the form of testing your patience to see whether you will give up on him/her or not. Be patient and even try to overlook some of the mischievous behaviour. In fact, try to laugh it off. The child need not call you ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ just yet, so if he/she refuses to, tell him/her it is okay. Try to understand what makes him/her tick and what makes him/her angry or frustrated. Maximize the former and minimize the latter.
Do not try to make any major changes in the house, when you finally do come over. Get used to the way they lived and do not try to push your ideas on to your partner’s children. If they do not like to eat spinach, do not try to force it on them, though you may lightly point out that it is healthy and good for them. Encourage the children to open up, but exercise extreme patience if they repeatedly ignore you or refuse to respond. Do not try to redecorate the house in a way you like or introduce any new rules, till the children accept you and get used to having you around.