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Exactly What You Need To Understand When Trying To Raise Stepchildren
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It is important for all step parents to know that they must proceed with caution in their new role as a step parent in their new family. Many times these children have lost a parent through an accident or a separation of their parents. Step children may find it very difficult to accept you at first, especially dependent upon the way they lost the other parent.
Your role as a stepparent will be much easier if your stepchildren are assured that you do not want to replace their natural parent. This is an important point to make, but is only necessary if your step-kids are old enough to understand what you are talking about. You also don't want to start off behaving too much like a parent, as the children won't appreciate this. It's important that you and your stepchildren are friends, but they must also respect your relationship with your new spouse, in particular when it comes to the area of discipline. It will take a while, but eventually you will strike a balance between showing them that although they must respect your authority, you are also someone they can come to for any reason.
One of the most important characteristics you will be called up to use in your life as a stepparent is patience. Don't assume you will have instant rapport and acceptance by your step-kids. It isn't likely to happen for quite some time. It's not uncommon for your stepchild to resent you at the beginning. Keep in mind that regardless of the reason they have lost their other parent - due to death or divorce - your stepchild will still miss him or her. Keep cheerfully and consistently moving forward in your efforts to win your stepchild over, but don't go overboard. If you make it clear that you're available to help them out but that you're not trying to replace their original parent, they'll gradually open up to you.
You will have to be very tactful when any discussion about their biological parent comes up. This is even the case if the original parent has died. He or she will still have a place in your stepchild's heart. Matters can really become complicated if your new spouse has been through a divorce and he or she has inconsistent feelings towards the former spouse. Except in cases where the original parent was abusive or neglectful, you should try to maintain a positive, or at least neutral stance towards them. You should always respect the fact that this person was the child's original parent and not try to diminish their role (or memory) in any way.
In conclusion, it's never easy to start a new family, especially when children are involved. The chances of you entering into a marriage in this day and age where there are children from a previous marriage involved, is becoming more probable than in times past. Flexibility and patience are the keys to successfully functioning in a new family environment. Learning how to bond with step-kids is one of the most important skill sets to learn.
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