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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

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