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Tips for Transitioning into a Stepparent Role


The transition to becoming a stepparent is filled with both rewards and challenges. Taking the process slowly and learning to gradually transition into the role can help you to build a better relationship with your stepchild and help the co-parenting go smoothly. Here are some helpful tips to help you assume your new step-parent role.

Ask Your Partner Important Questions

Start by having a candid conversation with your partner on how they envision things going. What role does he or she want you to play in their child’s life? Are there things you should or should not do? What is the current agreement with their ex-spouse and is there a parenting agreement? There should be some discussion about how you will give each other feedback without causing an argument or hurting the other person’s feelings.

Encourage Your Stepchild to Have Time with Each Biological Parent

Resist the urge to be jealous or threatened by your stepchild spending time with their biological parent who is the ex. If you are supportive of it, it can send the message that you are supportive and not hungry for affection and attention. At the end of the day, you should want what is best for your stepchild, not just for yourself.

Take Things Slow

Remember not to come on too strong, and give the new situation time. Everyone needs time to adjust, and the more patient you are with your stepchild, the easier you will make the transition. You can’t force a sudden family bond if there isn’t already that connection, so give the situation time.

Don’t Take Things Personally

You’ll need to develop a tough skin as it’s inevitable you’ll hear the phrase “you’re not my real parent” at some point. Try not to let it get to you when your stepchild is lashing out. You may find that your efforts to be affectionate are refused, or even rebuffed. There may be a number of reasons for that, which could be that they feel like they will betray their biological parent by getting close to you, or they are concerned whether your relationship will last since their biological parents split up. It’s important to understand that things are what they are, and you should accept that for your own emotional well-being.

Don’t Take a Lack of Progress Out on Each Other

If there are struggles or things are not progressing at the pace you had hoped, you might find yourself bickering with your partner on a more frequent basis. Try not to take all the challenges and problems out on your significant other. This is not helpful to building a relationship with your stepchild either.

Create New Holiday Traditions

Holiday time can be a rough one for stepparents who feel left out of the holiday traditions that were already established years before. Start your own traditions, without stepping on existing ones they have with their biological parents. Maybe you start your own annual Halloween party or a special Easter Egg hunt. This gives your stepchildren something to look forward to at every holiday and gives you a chance to build a new bond, rather than compete with an existing one.

Retaining a Florida Child Custody Attorney

If you are going through a divorce or have questions on other family law matters, like child custody or support, it’s important to speak with a Florida family law attorney. Please contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation. Let one of our skilled attorneys help with all your family law needs.

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