Common Stepparent Mistakes

5 Mistakes Every Stepparent Should Avoid

Being a stepparent is hard. Whether a child is 5 years old or in their teenage years, a stepparent has to enter into their lives delicately. If a stepparent is too strict, rude or simply enters into family life too quickly, it can ruin any relationship that the stepparent wanted to build with their new family.

While it is inevitable that mistakes will occur, there are a few common mistakes that can easily be avoided including:

Entering into the Family: All too often stepparents will try to enter into the family too quickly. This means they set firm rules, they start planning future events and the stepparent may become upset that they are not included in certain memories or stories. A stepparent must become one of the family over time.

Allowing Rude Behavior: As a stepparent, you are going to be judged against the parent you have replaced. Furthermore, kids often exhibit rude behavior wherein they tell their new stepparents they are wrong, or worse, they act with complete disrespect. This must be handled immediately. A stepparent should have their partner help enforce their rules. As a stepparent, you must earn the respect of your new family members.

Becoming a Parent Too Quickly: Punishments and rules are not going to be welcomed with a friendly smile. One of the biggest mistakes stepparents make is becoming a parent too soon. You will need to gain your family’s trust and this can take years. Your partner should be the one establishing rules and handing down punishments unless you are the only one around.

Never Speak Ill of the Other Parent: Whether you are replacing a mother or father, you must never speak ill of them in front of your new family. Regardless of the situation, it is never the place of the stepparent to pass judgment. Instead, avoid speaking anything but praise about the parent you have replaced.

Always Being Included: Accepting a new parent is difficult. When a new parent completely absorbs the life of the existing parent, this can lead to great resentment from children. Instead, you need to allow your partner and their children to have some alone time together.

Expert Family Counselor

The life of a stepparent is both demanding and exhausting. Once a stepparent becomes a friend and a loved one, they will find that they have earned respect from their new family members. This respect will make the transition into a parent one that is more natural.

With 25+years experience as a San Diego psychotherapist, I have helped many blended families transition into to their new roles.  Please feel free to call me for a free 15 minute telephone consultation at 858-481-0425.  I am located in Del Mar on coast highway.

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