Saturday, June 13, 2009

For Couples To Consider BEFORE Doing The Stepfamily Thing


  1. Give thought as to whether your children are compatible with your new partner's kids, for instance their ages, their sex, etc. 
  1. A new pecking order will affect children, plenty of discussion and panning will help you to minimise rivalry with both sets of children. 
  1. Your relationship with you spouse is the backbone of your new stepfamily. The relationship with your new partner is now your primary relationship and will require that you to become an expert in balancing your time, attention and affection between them and your children.
  1. Disclose your financial status and commitments and discuss them with your partner well before even considering blending your families. 
  1. Whose rules will the children abide by? A new set of rules determined by both parents must be in place for the new family. 
  1. Who will have authority over the children? Two sets of children require a new set of rules. It's the bio-parent's responsibility to enforce children's respectful behaviour towards their step-parent. 
  1. Don’t overcompensate with your children because you feel  overburdened with guilt about separating from your previous partner. 
  1. Always support your partner in front of the children, especially during a disagreement. Doing otherwise will create insecurity and can invite a divide-and-conquer mentality. 
  1. Remember and respect the fact that your stepchildren have another bio parent. 
  1. Stepchildren are usually wounded by their parent’s divorce. This may cause them to feel resentment towards the new step-parent and/or step-siblings. 
  1. Don’t ever lose sight of why you were married in the first place and make time alone with your partner to confirm this. 
  1. The day-to-day tasks of caring for children (step or not) has a way of interfering with the romance in the relationship you have with your partner. Be sure to find ways to keep the romance alive. 
  1. The “ex” will be around no matter what. Don’t ever hope that he or she will just disappear. 
  1. Don’t try to replace the natural parent. 
  1. Don’t expect your stepfamily journey to be an easy stroll. 
  1. If you first earn your stepchildren's respect you are more likely to, in time, gain their love. 
  1. You cannot be expected to love your partner’s children but if you love your partner you will show the children some compassion and understanding. 
  1. Two wrongs don’t make a right and don’t forget that you are older (and hopefully wiser) than your stepkids. 
  1. Create time alone together with your stepchildren. 
  1. Be conscious of the humorous side of your stepchildren. Everybody has their own sense of what is funny or not. 
  1. Develop family interests or hobbies that everyone can enjoy doing together e.g. camping, movies, picnics etc. 
  1. Join a support group, read books and learn as much as you can about the pitfalls and benefits of living in a stepfamily. You will need all the help you can get.

 Author unknown

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