4 Crucial Ways to Integrate a New Step-Parent into Your Household

The truth about stepfamilies is that they don’t always blend miraculously and harmoniously right off the bat. That sort of integration really only happens in TV sitcoms. The best bet for new stepparents is to take things gradually with their stepkids. This allows each person to get used to the new arrangement in a time that feels natural. It also builds the best foundation for solid relationships down the road. If you’re just now trying to integrate yourself into your new stepfamily, here are four tips to keep in mind.

1. Building Trust over Time

Woman’s Day cautions new stepparents about trying to ingratiate themselves too soon in their stepchildren’s lives. It’s natural to want to be the cool parent, but those motives can backfire. Oftentimes, stepparents will try to get on their new families’ good side by being too lenient. This makes the parents lose confidence in themselves and causes their stepkids to lose confidence and respect in their new stepparents. The parents in this situation should develop a plan for discipline ahead of time and present a united front to their family.

2. Manage Your Expectations

Happiness as a new family unit comes with time. Many people who become a part of a blended family want the happy family picture right away. However, this isn’t realistic. Instead, new stepparents need to look at their relationships with their new step kids as they would any relationship. They need to allow happy moments to happen as they would any other relationship. The best relationships develop naturally and have their own rhythm. Your relationship with your stepchildren will be the same.

3. Adoptions and Other Matters

Some stepparents must go through some additional challenges when it comes to joining a new family unit. Fighting for custody is often an ongoing component of a divorce—even years after the fact—but it’s not the only challenge that blended families deal with. Sometimes, stepparents are asked to adopt their stepchildren after the death of a parent or if the parental rights of the other parent have been severed.

In these instances, it’s crucial to be willing to seek professional advice. Madison Law Firm PLLC and similar institutions that specialize in family law can help you navigate these difficult waters. It’s also crucial that you seek out other professional services besides this if necessary. This can include counseling. Professionals who deal with these issues on a regular basis can help point the way to better understanding and help smooth out some of the wrinkles that inevitably come with such trying circumstances.

4. Allow Kids Time with Other Parent

It sounds counterintuitive, but your relationship with your stepchildren will probably be better if you give them time with your spouse alone. Many new spouses feel insecure about the parent/child relationship due to their status as the new spouse. It’s hard to feel integrated into the family when you know that your spouse and his/ her child had a relationship before you met.

However, it’s imperative that you deal with your feelings and allow these relationships to happen if you find yourself in this predicament. By doing so, you’re actually giving your stepchild the message that you want him/her to be happy and that you’re willing to make the sacrifices necessary to do it. In the end, this can be very good for your relationship with your stepchildren.

Creating a blended family takes time. The most successful new stepparents are willing to let their relationships with their stepchildren develop naturally. Additionally, they’re also secure enough to allow their new charges to have relationships with their other parent. Finally, stepparents who face some serious obstacles should be open to getting professional help if necessary. Doing this allows them to get a non-biased opinion about their situation, which in turn can help them make better family decisions in the future.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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