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Tips for being the best stepparent you can be

Becoming a stepparent is a monumental life event. The bond you have with your stepchild is unique. It can be beautiful, difficult, heartwrenching and encouraging all at once. 

Being a stepparent is truly a journey with many ups, downs, mistakes and surprises. If you are brand new to having a stepchild, it may feel overwhelming. Here are some guidelines for being the best stepparent you can be. 

Know the boundaries

Each stepparent-child relationship will be different, but there are some lines you should not cross. Beware of being over-disciplinary or coming on too strong. Try to strike a delicate balance. You do not want to try and force an instant bond or make the child resentful of you. Be yourself and do not set your expectations too high. 

Be ready for rebellion

Brace yourself for hearing your stepchild say, "You are not my real parent." Instead of lashing back or trying to deny it, be honest and do not give into the power struggle. Admit that you are not the biological parent, but that fact does not mean you care about the child any less.

Hold family meetings

Meetings are a great way for everyone to express what they feel about the new family dynamic. Give your stepchild the opportunity to share how he or she feels about the new situation. Ask for ideas on how to make it better for everyone. It is important for the stepchild to know he or she is safe in expressing negative and positive opinions. 

Be on the same page as your spouse

It is imperative to have an in-depth discussion about parenting, including:

  • Chores
  • Punishments
  • Rewards
  • Bedtimes
  • Allowances
  • Homework

The sooner you both get on the same page, the smoother the transition will be. 

Nothing will quite prepare you for being a stepparent; it is something you ultimately have to experience and learn about on your own. But these guidelines will assist you with your new adventure.

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