Being a step-parent is hard. It doesn’t matter if the child is an infant or is now an adult. It is never easy coming into a family and trying to make roots into it. There are some ages that are easier to work with but you are always at the risk of making some common mistakes. These mistakes can really affect your authority in the household and affect the way your step-children think of you. Here are some of the mistakes to avoid.
It will take time to adjust. Even if it’s been a decade since their parents divorced, children will still see you as an intruder.
This is very common with teenagers, especially when both parents are still alive and the split has been through a divorce. You can’t expect children to accept you.
Give them time and space and they will get used to you being part of the family.
You may have children of your own who are joining the family but that does not make you your step-children’s mum. It’s really important to ease yourself into the parenting role for them.
The time this takes will differ. Some children will accept you straight away, especially those who lost their mum at a young age and want a mother-figure in the home. Others will take longer, especially if they resent the fact that their dad remarried.
Just because the children don’t accept you as their new mum doesn’t mean they can be rude. You should still expect a level of respect and politeness in the house.
The last thing you want is a toxic environment. While you should leave the disciplining to your husband, you can explain that you expect good manners.
Children don’t like finding out their parents aren’t perfect. It ruins the belief that they have built from being young. The last thing you want to do is say something bad about their mother, even if you don’t think they can hear you.
There may still be problems between their parents but you don’t need to get involved and children will turn against you if you do.
Remember, your husband is their “real” parent. Even if you have a very good relationship with your step-children, if it comes to choosing sides they are more likely to choose their father.
Don’t get yourself upset about this. If you have children of your own, they are likely to choose your side. There is always going to be a strong bond between parent and child that beats step-parent and step-child.
Do you feel like you should be doing everything right? This is very common for those who already have children. You set your expectations high and then don’t meet them.
Remember that you are human and they know that. It’s okay to make mistakes. Setting expectations too high will just make you exhausted.