Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Married With Children: 3 Struggles Faced By Step Parents And How To Handle Them

Raising children can be hard enough, but when you’re a step parent, it just adds more difficulties to the equation. It’s often an awkward transition for everyone as you become a larger part of the children’s lives.

There are a few issues common to every step parent-stepchild relationship. Understanding what to expect and how you can handle these issues will make your life easier.

Disciplining Your Stepchild

You need to walk a fine line when you’re a step parent. If you avoid disciplining your stepchild, they won’t respect your authority. But if you discipline them too much, they may resent you for it. Stepchildren often make it more difficult by reminding you that you’re not their real parent or mentioning how they don’t have the same rules at their other parent’s house.

The key is setting clear rules and boundaries that you and your partner agree on. If your stepchild questions you when you enforce the rules, you just calmly explain that you’re the adult and you’re in charge.

Custody Battles with the Other Biological Parent

It’s a major inconvenience when the other biological parent doesn’t stick to the custody arrangement, whether they’re late to pick up the child, drop the child off or they just keep trying to change the schedule.

As a step parent, there’s only so much you can do, since custody arrangements are usually only between biological parents. Still, if the other parent is becoming a problem, you can consult with a custody lawyer or firm like Kelm & Reuter, P.A. for advice on what to do and how to get a custody agreement enforced.

Feeling Like an Outsider

Since you don’t have the same bond that your partner and their child have, it’s natural to feel like you’re on the outside looking in. You may feel a disconnect from both your partner and your stepchild because of this.

Remember that even though your partner and stepchild have their own bond, that doesn’t have anything to do with how your partner feels about you. It’s a good idea to agree on how you’ll handle it if your stepchild wants to talk to their parent alone. For example, you could take a walk or call someone you know to give them private time.

There are all kinds of struggles you may face as a step parent, but these three are the most common. With proper communication and understanding, you’ll be able to handle these issues and build a strong relationship with your stepchild.

Tim Esterdahl

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

Find Us on Social Media

Yesterday, we put out an appeal for One Can Feed donations, so that we could replenish our Canned Pasta shelf in the IFCS Food Market. Well, our friends David and Ann came to the rescue. They made a monetary donation, so that we could purchase 125 cans at a deep discount. There will be lots of kids and kids-at-heart that have a quick meal. We are 125 meals closer to our goal of providing 130,000 meals of groceries this year. #OneCanFeed

Want to Feed the Need -
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

IFCS was so pleased to receive backpacks from PEO Chapter DH of Denver and Joan Clayton this year. Their mission of furthering girls and women’s education is inspiring! To learn how you can support this important mission, please email ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Our canned Ravioli & Spaghetti shelves are empty! We want to refill this family favorite by taking your One Can Feed monetary donations and shopping for those things we need most. Can you feed the need, by contributing to the campaign? #OneCanFeed
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

IFCS On Twitter

#OneCanFeed…Seniors! 1 in 7 Colorado seniors struggle with hunger (deciding between Food and Medicine). One Can Make a difference – learn more at

#OneCanFeed…Families! Nearly 1 in 7 Coloradans struggle with hunger, facing times when there is not enough money to buy food. One Can Make a difference – learn more at

We are pleased to announce the launch of One Can Feed! This is a fundraiser for IFCS to help collect financial and food resources to help others in need. Check out today to see how you can make a difference! #onecanfeed #dogood #charity #colorado

Load More...

Key Sponsors

Our Affliations




Sign Up for our eNewsletter

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

USDA Non-Discrimination Policy

IFCS follows the USDA non-discrimination policy. Learn more by clicking here to read the statement. (PDF)