Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that parenting is a challenge at the best of times.
Stepparenting, shared parenting, coparenting and blended families are becoming more and more common around the world. Here are my top 10 tips for you, if you start feeling a little overwhelmed. You will not be the only stepparent who might feel the way you do right now. Chances are the majority of us have been through the particular challenge facing you now. You are not alone. Deep breath and relax.
1. You will never reach a point of absolute perfection.
No family- let alone a step or blended family- is perfect and more importantly, no human is perfect.
2. There is no one size fits all when it comes to stepparenting.
What works in my situation may not work for you but remain open-minded and realistic to be willing to try and/or change.
3. Talk to people about your feelings to avoid ‘blow up’ stage.
Talking and letting people know how you feel and not bottling it up and feeling alone within your step or blended family is a crucial key in finding workable solutions…. and not getting to ‘blow up’ stage.
4. You cannot command respect if you are not respectful towards others.
You may not like a member of your step or blended family and that’s perfectly ok, but they have a right to their opinion as well, even if it is not shared by you.
5. Stepparenting is not a competition.
Remember stepparents actually do not want to replace a biological parent. They are there to enhance a child’s life experience.
6. As a stepparent, it is actually not your job to solve or fix your stepchildren.
But it is your job to do the best you possibly can from a good place in your heart. Sometimes you will have a win, sometimes you will have a loss.
7. You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge.
Very few people can accept their failures, when you do, your world becomes easier, far more workable and you find far more common ground.
8. If you have an agenda, other than wanting to just make a difference in your stepchild’s life, you will fail spectacularly- and so you should!
9. Stepparenting revolves around commitment, compromise, compassion and making that difference.
Everyone should realise that being a stepparent or having a stepparent means stepchildren will always have another person who will teach them and love them.
10. You will never have all the answers to all the issues that crop up in step parenting and blended families.
But, by telling and sharing your story of how you have worked through and overcome what you are going through right now, it will actually become part of someone else’s survival guide.
Article originally published by Step Families Australia and written by author Karalee Katsambanis
Where to access further information or assistance:
Stepfamilies Australia: call on 03 9639 2576
Stepfamily Support Couch Chats group (free online service) – Register here
Family Relationships Advice Line: 1800 050 321