Becoming a stepfather or a stepmother is a job that requires patience, knowledge and a fluid communication.
If the stepfather or the stepmother has no children, the KidsHealth Portal in the Nemours Pediatric Health System recommends to start asking the couple what is the better way to know their children.
Use existing resources to inquire what things they are interested on and explore how to promote healthy relations, are the starting points to strengthen such relations. They also recommend:
- Listen what their needs are and put them before your personal desires. Above all, kids need love, affection and coherent and consistent rules. Avoid rewarding them when they don’t deserve it, and do everything possible to treat them with equity.
- Establish rules at home. Kids and teenagers have different rules, but such rules should be applied with the same rigor. This helps them to adapt to changes such as moving or the arrival of a new baby, and to understand what their roles are in the new family.
- Creating new habits. Finding especial activities to perform with the kids and allowing them to share their opinions. These new traditions can include table games, riding bicycle, cooking, handcrafting or going to the movies.
- Respecting the biological parents. Avoiding making negative comments about the biological mother or father in front of their children. This behavior is usually self-defeating, as nobody likes to hear such criticisms.
- Children should not be intermediaries. Attempting to interrogate them about what happens in their other home is not a recommended practice; it is better to directly communicate with the other parent in order to agree on issues such as timetables, subjects related to health or school problems.
- Talking with the spouse. Couple communication is vital for jointly making decisions about children education, and this is crucial if each parent has different ideas about education and discipline.
Relate: Emotional support in family