Ten things every stepparent should understand about being in a blended family:
1. That it isn't easy (just as it isn't easy in any family) but is worth the work and effort.
2. How important it is to teach a hopeful attitude instead of a victim mentality attitude.
3. That Positive Discipline can be used by both the birth parent and the step parent because it is non-punitive, kind and firm at the same time, and is based on maintaining dignity and respect for all concerned.
4. That adjustment takes time.
5. How important it is to let children have their feelings without trying to rescue them.
6. How important it is to learn effective parenting skills that include an understanding of why misbehavior occurs in the first place. (a misbehaving child is a discouraged child because he has a mistaken belief about his lack of belonging and significance) and an understanding of the long-range results of the kind of discipline used. Punitive discipline creates rebellion, revenge, resentment, or retreat into sneakiness ("I won't get caught next time") or retreat into low self-esteem. Positive Discipline teaches important life skills such as perceptions of capability, of meaningful contribution, and of personal influence, as well as communication skills, problem-solving skills, accountability skills, and thinking skills.
7. The importance of getting children involved in creating rules and solutions because they are more willing to follow solutions if they have been respectfully included.
8. The importance of teaching in helping both children and adults learn new skills. No one is born knowing how to do a new thing!
9. Being willing to notice what's right--not just what's wrong. Encouragement and appreciation help everyone feel optimistic, comfortable, and willing to try new things.
10. Be patient; keep a sense of humor; and let the message of love and respect get through!