Top tips for step-parents
Here's a few ideas to help you to build strong bonds in your step-family
- Don’t force the pace! It takes time for stepfamilies to feel comfortable together.
- Make it safe for the children to talk about their feelings and grieve their losses. Failure to grieve can result in anger and alienation.
- Don’t rubbish your ‘ex’ in front of the children. They want to be loyal to both of you and don’t want to take sides.
- A non-resident child needs to feel part of the family, not just a ‘visitor’. Put their school photo, trophies, drawings etc on show. Also display photos of things you’ve done together as a family so that you can start to build new memories.
- Agree with your partner how you will parent your children together and what your roles will be as parent and step-parent. This will help children to adjust to a new authority figure gradually, without worrying that the new step-parent will immediately ‘replace’ their other mother or father.
- Involve children in family chores. Giving them a choice of job helps them to co-operate.
- Remember that all children and teenagers need their own space, friends and activities. Let them invite a friend to stay occasionally if possible.
- Make sure that the birth parent and their child can have some time on their own together now and again.