A blended family or step parenting can be a very big challenge for everyone involved. The following are some guidelines to make the new family unit function more effectively.
- Be Patient – A natural family is created slowly, yet a blended family is more abrupt. Allow time for adjustment.
- Make Respect a Rule – Demand that each member of the family is treated with respect. Members may not like each other, yet acting with respectful actions and attitude is mandatory. Discipline behavior and character.
- Allow time for bonding between Step Parent and Child. Step Parent must take initiative to create a bond with the child. Small behaviors lead to bigger behaviors.
- As the relationship increases, disciplining increases.
- Maintain harmony as a team or a united front between parent and stepparent.
- Understand the losses and hurts of the children.
- Step Parent has the authority initially like a baby sitter, teacher or coach. The next stage is like an uncle or aunt. The next stage is like a parent.
- Never speak negatively in front of the child about the biological parent.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Lower your expectation of the quality of relationship between the stepparent and child.
- Create a list of family rules and consequences. Make the consequence facilitate the desired behavior.
- Write down the rules and consequences in a binder.
Follow these suggestions, and you will reap the benefits.
Dean Sunseri is a Licensed Professional Counselor or therapist experienced in General Mental Health Counseling, Family Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Christian Counseling, Family Counseling and Sports Performance Psychology in Baton Rouge, LA.