How to Be a Good Stepmom – Do’s and Don’ts

May 12, 2018 Parenting
how to be a good stepmom

Being a parent is a daunting task and gets even more harrowing if you are the stepmom. Having to be a substitute and entering your partner’s life at a stage where he is estranged from the mother of his children, is surely a messy business. But don’t worry, we have a a few do’s and don’ts that can make the process of acceptance and forbearance easier.

Do’s

Spend quality time with your stepchildren

In order to have a good relationship with your stepchildren, it is imperative to spend quality time with them. Have meaningful, one-on-one interactions with them to ensure that they find comfort in your company. You can make this simpler by spending your private time doing different activities that each of them likes .

Your partner should continue to be the parent

The need to see their father still fulfilling all his duties as before, is very important to the children. Being convinced that things are just as normal as they were earlier, will make them more readily accept you. It is better to take a backseat and operate as a babysitter or an aunt than as the ‘mother’ that you are not. This will leave you more time for activities that you can do with the kids, thus keeping your partner happy as well.

Create and follow the house rules

Abiding by certain set of house-rules will create a level of mutual respect in the family. If the stepchildren are old enough, involve them in creating these rules. It is seen that children establish stricter punishments for breaking a rule than adults. If there is a transgression, these house rules help bring a consensus. It is imperative to work together so that the children know that they cannot “divide and conquer.”

Accept the love that you have for them and vice- versa

Love is a powerful emotion, but sadly it can’t be forced. If you have genuine love for your stepchildren then that is a blessing. But if that does not happen, then accept things the way they are. This logic applies to the children as well. So as long as there is a feeling of mutual kindness, compassion, and respect between each other, you can surely sustain a healthy relationship.

Model the good behavior you want your children to adopt

When the children perceive you as being a warm, kind and respectful person, it goes a long way towards building a healthy rapport between you and them. They will believe that you truly are the responsible and kind human being that you want them to be. If you want them to be comfortable around you, make it clear to them that you too feel comfortable around them, by coming across as being fun-loving and easy going when appropriate.

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Don’ts

Don’t try to be the disciplinarian

It’s important for you to always remember that their biological mom, in all likelihood, is still a far greater influence on their lives than you are. Hence any attempt to discipline the children will mostly end with them resenting you. That is why mental health expert would say that it’s your partner’s responsibility to discipline the children. Although, if it becomes totally unavoidable, do discipline them in as gentle and understanding a manner as possible.

Don’t take words and expressions personally

It takes several years for step families to gel. The children are most vulnerable and might resent you for taking their mom’s position. This leads to them rejecting your warmth and attention. Hence any seemingly hurtful or unkind actions or words that they direct towards you should not be taken personally. They should be merely treated as words and nothing else.

Don’t forcibly try to be a “Mom”

Accept the fact that you are a step parent and don’t try to make any attempts to be any other kind of parent. You don’t want to give them the feeling of usurpation, hence don’t expect or force the children to call you “Mom”. It’s better and easier to be a buddy, mentor or even a confidante.

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Avoid favoritism

Make sure every child is poured with equal affection. It’s a terrible feeling to know that your sibling and not you gets special attention for no fault of yours. The children need to be reassured that they are both equally loved and valued.

Don’t expect perfection in the relationship

Always remember that the stereotypical ‘happy family’ with no problems is a myth. It’s important for you’ll to bear the rough patches and pull through. After all that isn’t that all what life’s about?