Step-Parenting Challenges and How to Overcome Them;Overcoming Step Parenting Challenges
Step-parenting is parenting by a stepparent. A stepparent is a parent who is married to the mother or father of a child, and who is not a biological parent to the child.
Step-parenting can be confusing at the beginning because you wonder whether to start parenting from the onset or if to wait and see how the step-child reacts towards you. There is no defined approach of being a stepparent, but with time, you find out which way works well for you and your family.
Challenges of Being a Stepparent
When you are a stepparent, you feel odd in the family as everyone knows the other.
Your stepchild might reject you at first, ignore you or be shy around you. It may not be easy to cope with this, but you ought to find a way to relate to your stepchild that works for her and you.
Your stepchild’s other parent could have adverse reactions towards you, and if your partner does not support you being in the child’s life, the child could also behave negatively towards you.
If you have a child of your own, you tend to be biased towards him/her and also get upset when you think your partner is not fair to your child.
You might have different approaches from your partner about parenting. It is advisable to work on these differences so that you are on the same footing.
In some cases, especially for stepmothers, they might feel that it is expected of them to take on the caring and nurturing role. Stepfathers too might think that they have to take on the ruling role.
Overcoming Step Parenting Challenges
Here are some tips to help step parenting go smoothly.
Talk with your partner and discuss issues like the role your partner expects you to play with your stepchild and what you should or should not do. You can also talk about how much you can get involved in parenting and what you feel is comfortable for you.
Always remember that you can never replace the biological parent of your child. If it is as a result of separation, it doesn’t matter what the biological parent did. In some cases, children feel like they are betraying the absent parent when they become close to the stepparent, but with time they learn that it is possible to have a connection with two parents. It is good to define your role in the family. A stepchild can love and respect you even without calling you ‘dad’ or ‘mom.’
Do not terminate the relationship that the child has with the other parent. In a child’s mind, there can never be a separation between her and the parent. It would be best that you speak positively about the other parent, as much as you can, avoid criticizing and judging the other parent in the presence of the kid.
Get to know your stepchild before you start living together. If it is possible, you can go on outings, do activities together or even do practical things together like assisting her with homework. You can also ask your partner what the child likes and dislikes. That way you get to know the child more.
Take things slowly and at a good pace that suits your stepchild. You may not like or even love your stepchild on an instant and do not expect her to love you instantly either. It works out well if in the initial years you focus on spending time supporting your stepchild and not taking on an active parenting role. Once you and your stepchild are comfortable with each other, you can then take on an active parenting role.
Focus on trying to be accepting and positive towards your stepchild. Always point out when she does something right.
After you overcome the challenges, step-parenting is rewarding as it gives you an opportunity to play a central part in your stepchild’s life, your children develop strong relationships with step-siblings and it becomes easy for you to build a healthy relationship with your partner and step-children.
Steps to Overcoming Step-Parenting Challenges
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