Being a stepmom is rewarding; it can help you become a better parent and a better person because you learn how to be more understanding, more patient, and of course, more loving. But at the same time, it is also equally challenging because it’s not easy to form a blended family – there may be a lot of issues, conflicts, and misunderstandings along the way. However, no matter how complicated things may be, you can make your blended family successful.
What is a blended family?
The “step/blended family” definition is a family consisting of the parents and their children from their current and past relationships. One or both parents may have children from their previous relationships.
7 Tips on handling blended family for stepmoms:
1. Involve your partner.
If your partner is involved in all the changes that are happening in your family, it will have a positive effect on the family. Once the children see that their dad/stepdad is very much involved in the transition, it might be easier for them to accept the changes around them.
Your partner should also actively take care of his children. Step-parenting discipline is often one of the common problems in a blended family. Let him discipline his children. Let him have some time alone with his own children and with his stepchildren.
You and your partner should keep a united front. Let your partner help you in decision-making. Your partner should support you in every step of the way.
2. Be civil towards one another.
One of the common problems with blended families is the way the members act toward one another. You know all about the stepmom negative stereotypes. And stepchildren may feel that you stole their dad away from them.
Another problem is when the ex is involved. This is especially true in cases where a partner is divorced. You can expect the biological mom to still be present and active in raising the kids. But you can’t expect the former spouse of your partner to like you.
So how do you deal with these situations?
You just need to be civil toward one another. It is better than hurting each other, saying bad things about each other, or completely ignoring the other person. You would want to avoid blended family conflict. As a stepmom, you should never insult the biological mother. Instead, respect the role of the biological mom in her kids’ lives. Also, you have to treat your stepchildren the way you want your spouse to deal with your own children.
Moreover, you should not compete with the ex. No matter what she does, she will always be your stepchildren’s mother and there is nothing you can do to change that fact. Treat the biological mother in a nice way. You don’t have to be best friends with her, but you have to also respect her and be nice to her, even if she doesn’t treat you the same way. It’s difficult, but you have to choose your battles.
3. You don’t need to love your stepchildren but you can act lovingly toward them.
While it is ideal for all the members of the blended family to love each other, sometimes, it’s just so difficult to do. At times, stepmoms feel like they have to love their stepchildren, and it can cause them to feel stressed or pressured. You are extremely lucky if your stepchildren like, and even love, you. But since it doesn’t happen all the time, you might have to settle for mutual respect for one another.
Things are even more complicated when your stepchildren don’t seem to be grateful to you for the things that you do for the family, or when they disrespect you. You can’t force them to say thank you. You also have to remember that the pain that they feel because of their parents’ separation may be the reason behind their actions toward you.
In these cases, you need to be the bigger person. You may want to lash at them, but it’s better to let it go. Treat your stepchildren fairly. Be kind to them even if they are not. Who knows? Your relationship with your stepchildren may improve and you may even start loving each other as time passes by.
4. Spend time together.
Find time to spend with your stepchildren. Spending time together is necessary to form closer bonds not only with your stepchildren but also with your own children.
You may want to try some blended families’ activities such as going to the beach or having a picnic.
5. Communication is important.
Communication is one of the most important things that you need in order to make any relationship work. In case of blended families, communication plays a role in keeping the family together.
You have to communicate constantly with your partner. Let him know how you feel so that he can better understand you. It is more likely that you’ll get support from him now more than ever.
Communication between you and your stepchildren is also important. Although it might be difficult at first, talking with them can help you get to know them better. It can help you form a closer bond with them.
And of course, you should communicate with your own children. Let your children know they can rely on you.
6. Give it time.
Blending families moving in together can be difficult for the children. And although acceptance is the key on how to make a marriage work with stepchildren, don’t expect them to easily accept you as their stepmother, nor to accept the new situation they are in. If your stepchildren like you, good for you. But it is not always the case. Most of the time, stepchildren feel uncomfortable with a new arrangement and may also resent their stepmom or stepdad.
Be patient and give them time to adjust to this new arrangement. If the situation is hard for you, it is even more difficult for them to understand everything.
7. Take time for yourself and be in charge of your own happiness.
Sometimes, stepmoms focus too much on their partners, children, and stepchildren that they forget about themselves. Remember that you also need to take care of yourself. Go out, do things that you enjoy doing, and spend time with other people outside your family.
Also, don’t think that you have to do everything on your own. Pressuring yourself too much to become a perfect stepmom won’t help you at all. Although it is natural for moms to want to find a solution to the problems of each family member, you need to remind yourself that you are not responsible for everyone’s problems.
Happiness is contagious, so if we are happy, it will be much easier to make others feel happy, too.
Step-parenting is hard not just for the stepmom but also for the stepdad. But you and your spouse have to work together to handle your blended family. Successful blended families are no perfect families, but they somehow managed to make their relationships with each other work. Hope that you find these 7 tips on handling blended family for stepmoms useful.