Being a stepmother is tough. And while the challenge of bringing up someone else’s children is often rewarding, most women will find it trying at times, too.
Your bond with your stepchildren is likely to affect your relationship with your partner. Shared love and affection for the kids will help keep you close, but a fractious relationship with them could drive a wedge between you. It’s no wonder so many stepmothers are now seeking relationship advice that helps them address issues with both their partner and the kids.
Relationship advice website thecoupleconnection.net attracts thousands of step-parents each month, all of whom are motivated to work on their step-parenting skills to improve their relationship with their partner as well as their stepchildren.
Here we share some of thecoupleconnection.net’s most popular step-parenting advice:
The key to bonding with a stepchild is to take things slowly. Remember a family break up can cause upset and confusion for them, which may result in some bad behaviour for a while. Don’t take this as a personal insult, instead try to be open and friendly around the child and allow them to come round to you in their own time.
It may be impossible for the two of you to ever love each other as if you were biologically related, but by accepting this and relieving the pressure on you both, you may be surprised at just how quickly you can grow to love a child, and vice versa.
Stepfamilies are one of the fastest growing family types, and often involve the bringing together of children from two separate partnerships. When there are children from different families living in one house it’s important to set a parenting style and boundaries that will work for all those involved.
Don’t try to discipline your stepchildren before you’ve developed a relationship with them. Disciplinecan only be effective in an environment where there’s mutual respect and affection. Sit down with your partner and agree how children’s misbehaviour will be managed in the early days, and stick to the resulting plan. Remember, when a child grows to likes a step-parent they’ll try to keep them happy, resulting in better behaviour.
Loyalty and jealousy
Parents always have strong feelings of loyalty to their children; try to respect this and don’t feel pushed out by it. Your partner’s children represent another priority and commitment, but try not to view them as a threat to your relationship.
Similarly, when a partner has to continue to parent with their ex, it’s not always possible to completely cut out the past. But they are now parents, not partners. Try to maintain perspective and work with your partner in the best interests of the children.
Making time for each other
As many martial therapists will agree, the most effective <strong>relationship advice</strong> out there is making time for each other.
Children add extra pressure to any relationship, and for stepfamilies there’s often little time to build a relationship before they come on the scene.
It becomes frustrating not being able to predict when you’ll be able to find that extra time just to relax together. But if you can at least try and make a commitment to seizing those moments when they come along it can really help you to focus on your relationship. Even just an hour or two a week, with no kids around, can allow you to share new experiences and remind you of all the reasons you first fell in love.