Are you a new step parent?
Starting out with a completely blank canvas can be daunting for parents. If you have no children, how do you know what to do or what to say. You begin to wonder whether you are a parent from the start or should you just see what happens. There is no right or wrong way to enter your step parent role and you will find your own way. You will feel your way through and learn through your own experiences.
One of the most important things to do is discuss with your partner what your role will be and what it involves. Even before you live together and before you meet the children all the dos and don'ts need to be agreed between you and your partner so you both know where you both stand and what your responsibilities are. This will save you both lots of stress and worry later down the line.
The rewards can be endless. You can create a family with your partner and step children. It’s an opportunity for you to get support and enjoy having an extended family.
You will have the chance to play a central part in your stepchildren’s life and watch they grow with your help and guidance. To be part of a step family who learn to grow together and enjoy being around each other is rewarding itself.
With your partners support and encouragement, yourself development and confidence of being a fantastic step parent will naturally unfold.
Like with most things in life step parenting comes with its own difficulties. If you ask any parent, they will probably say they are always learning within their parenting role. Our lessons in parenting are always ongoing. Given time we live and learn through our experiences and learn from our partners. Remember to always parent together and support one another.
Your challenges could vary from entering into an environment where memories have already been made and everyone already knows each other. This may cause you to feel left out and a bit of an outsider. You might get rejected by your step children or they may ignore you. You might get criticised by your partners ex-partner on how you parent or your parenting style. If you have children of your own, you might find it difficult treating them the same as your stepchildren.
Your expectations might be unrealistic or so far from what you were hoping they would be.
Will you be asked to slot into a certain role? You might be asked to fill the mum role or will you be asked to step in and create house rules and boundaries. Are these positions you would be happy to fill or are they so far from reality for you?
Take it Slow
Take time easing into your step parenting role. There is no hurry as everyone needs time to adjust including your partner and the children.
Get to know your step children in a friendly way rather than a parenting way. Build their trust and help them get to know you and you get to know them. Time and patience are key.
Keep everything positive and always encourage and praise them as much as possible. Remember stepping into this new world will be a bumpy road and you need to allow yourself time to ease in. It's rewarding, challenging and sometimes confusing.
Looking after yourself emotionally and physically is so important for you to be the best parent you can be. Make time for your hobbies, friends and things you love doing that makes you feel good.
Lastly enjoy your time and give yourself permission to make mistakes. It’s how all us parents learn to be better parents within our family unit.