Submitted by Shirley Cress Dudley
1. You ask your husband to choose between you and his kids.
You see the kids as competition and you’re determined to win.
2. You don’t know much about your stepkids
You spend all of your time focusing on your own kids and your new husband and don’t see the need to get to know your step kids
3. You ask your husband to take you out to dinner on his child’s birthday, and tell him to celebrate the kid’s birthday on another day.
4. You don’t recognize the step kid’s birthdays or any other special events in their lives.
5. You treat your kids better than his kids
You make sure your children have everything that they need and let their biological mom figure out what her own kids need.
6. You interrupt your husband when he’s on the phone with his kids
What could he possibly be talking about that’s more important than you?
7. You let his kids figure out on their own, where to sleep, and put their stuff, when they visit their Dad.
After all, the beds in the house are for the ones who live here full time, right?
8. You have different house rules for your kids then for his kids.
9. You don’t let your step kids bring friends into your house.
10. You don’t let your step children spend any time alone with their Dad when they come to visit.
All kidding aside, being a step mom is one of the toughest jobs in the world. When you marry a man with kids, you commit to love and care for his kids as if they were your own. The kids don’t usually appreciate a new stepparent and will not appreciate your efforts for some time (sometimes they never acknowledge the positive impact you have had on their lives.)
Stepparents are not in competition with the kids, although many people feel that way. The love an adult has for his/her spouse is different than the love they have for their children. There is enough love to go around, to everyone, without anyone suffering. Creating and maintaining house rules, and keeping the marriage the center of the family are key issues in a stable, loving environment for the kids.
Talking with your step kids about their interests and hobbies will build rapport with them. Celebrating their birthdays, special school events, or any holiday is a wonderful opportunity to bond your stepfamily and create memories of this new family.
Providing them with a private place to keep their things, when they visit their Dad, is also important. A private bedroom is not necessary (although ideal.) However, you need to give each child a secure place to put their things, and a place to hang out when they are in your home.
Although you want to spend time as a blended family, it’s a good idea to give your husband some individual time with this children when they come to visit. Spend this time with your kids, or doing something for yourself. Your step kids will appreciate this time and also feel more comfortable in the blended family times.
Shirley Cress Dudley is a licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a master’s degree in Education. She has a passion for helping blended families grow strong and be successful, and her book, Blended Family Advice, has been touted as the ultimate must-read for couples contemplating or undergoing such change.