Fostering an easygoing atmosphere after joining two separate family units can be tricky. It is like trying to negotiate a peace agreement between North and South Korea.
After a divorce, children can be a bit hard to handle and their behavior can be abrasive. No matter, it is not impossible, and with good step parenting techniques, you can achieve a more harmonious home.
Even if it takes a little while, never give up hope that one day, you will have a loving family. Those first years will likely be predominantly taxing.
As a newly married couple, you are trying to work out the dynamics of your relationship and living together. Then you also have to play hopscotch around the issues that comes with parenting a stepchild.
This can be a massive headache if not handled properly by a step parent.
But it is doable – with patience, persistence, love, and maybe a glass of wine at the end of the night.
Step Parenting Challenges and Strategies
Every day, there will be challenges, but after a while, you will notice a transition from resistance to acceptance and then to harmony. All groups have rough spots when they come from different backgrounds. There is some storming, norming, and then performing.
Expect these changes to have their own timelines, depending on your particular dynamics. Regardless of the upheavals, challenges, heartache, and mistakes, handle every situation with love.
Maintain All Relationships Separately
Sometimes you will run the risk of judging one person based on another. Try not to do this. Just because you are living in harmony with your spouse does not mean that you will immediately live harmoniously with their children as well.
Respect boundaries, and if possible, spend quality time with your new stepchild. Learn about their hobbies. If you have a common interest, try to do these things together often. This can be as simple as getting a manicure and pedicure together, going swimming, playing football or baseball. Try not to critique your stepchild. Be in the moment and enjoy each other.
Your main goal is trying to foster a relaxed and stress-free environment. This will eventually get them to open up to you. In these moments, you will see the foundation being built for a sturdy and amorous connection with your stepchild.
If you have a biological child, try not to neglect them while you are getting to know your stepchild and vice versa. Again, you must share your time equally so that no preference is shown for any of them.
Spending quality time as a mixed family with all your children individually will let them know they are all loved equally and that none will be neglected. Newly married couples tend to be absorbed in each other and neglect everyone around them.
They are like a massive Jupiter onto themselves. But instead, why not be like the sun and spread the rays of sunshine to everyone?
Help Your Stepchild to Transition
It is not easy living in two separate households. As a child, trying to juggle your life and live by multiple rules or live up to everyone’s expectations will be particularly challenging. Divorce is chaotic that way.
Children are sensitive. They are fragile and their psychological and emotional wellbeing must be protected. They can be triggered and get upset by the smallest things because of the internal emotional turmoil they are battling. You might even think that they are throwing actual bombs at you, when you are left to contemplate some of the devastating interactions that you have with them.
Regardless, be there for them. Be patient and talk with your stepchildren when you can. Ask about their life and what they do on a daily basis. Showing interest helps. It might be rebuffed initially, but you will have to grow a tough hide and battle on until you win them over. Take the temper tantrums, tears, and snide remarks along with the silence, subtle smiles, and eventual laughter.
It will come. You just have to push through a lot of baggage to get there.
Bring Fun to the Process of Step Parenting
Use fun and laughter to alter those tense moments. There is a lot of tension when you are trying to merge a blended family. If you want an easier time, then relax. If you are uptight, chances are your stepchildren will also be uptight. Relax and don’t take everything personally.
Recognize that there will be challenges. Be willing to work through them over the long term. But until you have lilies springing forth from everyone’s cheeks, be easy-going. Not to the point where you are going to lapse on discipline, but you do want to provide a relaxed atmosphere for all your children. This is essential for stepchildren to feel comfortable and accepted.
They will typically come with their own emotional baggage and second-guess almost everything you do, but you can make the process easier for them.