Being a stepmom will most likely have some challenges. With a divorce rate around 50 percent, it has many households finding themselves transitioning and learning to guide through a blended family. Follow these parenting tips on being a new stepmom to help guide you through the new transition.
Before you agree to marry you need to really look at the whole picture. You are marrying this man and his children. You also have to remember the mom will always be in the picture as well in most cases. It is a lot to take on, but it can be so rewarding.
Divorce Isn’t Easy
Divorce can be really hard for kids, and it can take time for them to adjust to a new mother role in their lives. Just take it slow and know that as time passes things will get easier.
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Make sure each child has their own space. That way they don’t feel like they are being put to sleep on the couch because you moved in. Make sure they have an area that they can go to be alone if they need.
Don’t Take It Personal
You have to remember that the kids are struggling. They didn’t ask for their parents to get divorced and their whole world has been flipped. They might be blaming you for the change and trying to deal with all the emotions. With some time and work, you can begin to build a respectful, loving relationship with them. They need to see your trustworthy and have their best interest in mind.
Make sure you know your role. Don’t jump in and take the role of their biological mom. You have to respect that boundary that their biological mom is their mom. You can become a bonus Mom but that has to be on the child’s terms. Don’t force them to call you Mom, let them call the shots. If the kid decides to call you Mom on their own that’s great, but you can have a very strong relationship without that three letter word.
Stay Out of It
When your spouse and the mom have discussions make sure not to force yourself into the argument. If they want your input that’s great, but don’t force it. By giving our opinion when it isn’t wanted can cause a lot of unneeded friction and really fracture the relationship between the biological mom and you, and sometimes even your spouse. You can support your husband but when you go out of your way to talk to the biological mom do it in a respectful way. In many cases the spouses that got divorced hold anger, resentment and more and it can be hard.
Spend Time Together
Stepchildren are such a blessing and you can build an unbreakable bond over time. They are such a blessing, not a liability. Make sure to spend quality time with them and enjoy your time. Find a common hobby that you can do together and begin to build that loving relationship with them.
Your partner should discipline his children, especially in the beginning. If you walk in and take on the discipline role the kids could easily resent you. You have a hard job ahead and you don’t need one more thing being against you.
Sit down as a family and let your partner share house rules that need to be followed. If you have older kids let them help decide some rules as well. This gives you a strong family feel and can help with issues that arise later. The children will know the consequences of their actions.
New Family Traditions
Sometimes stepmoms can feel like outsiders around holidays as the family has set traditions. Try implementing a new tradition so that it can be special for the new family you have. Make it fun and even let the kids help decide what they want to do. Maybe open one present on Christmas Eve, bake cookies to give to neighbors at Thanksgiving, etc.
Most importantly just love them. Kids can go through a lot in a divorce or loss of a Mom. Make sure to show them all the love they need, even if they struggle accepting it at first. Put yourself in their shoes and see all the emotions they are going through.