View Full Version : Your best advice on a successful step family
I'm looking for your best advice on everything step families. I have a 5yr old DS and a 28yr old DP about to be DH. We all have our good & bad times and I would love to hear from others who step parent successfully or who's parter is a great step Dad/Mum. How often do you enjoy time as a couple & how to achieve a good family/couple balance? How does your new partner handle your ex? What tips have you got for handling issues such as discipline in your household? Anything else you think of! :idea:
One key thing we have found is being upfront and clear about rules etc. Eg. when DH and I met DD1 was 2.5, and I sometimes used a light smack as a discipline tool. However I realised fairly quickly that I wouldn't cope with DH smacking her, so we decided to remove smacking from our household altogether. We felt it would not be acceptable to say I can smack her and he can't, and so we have carried this rule through with our next two children. There were also certain things which DH brought into the family, such as particular table manners etc, which we discussed and negotiated on. We then gradually introduced the new rules, and I supported them (even when I thought he was being a bit "stuffy"). It was important that DH felt that he had input and that his values were respected.
Establish good communication with the ex partner and step child/children. If everyone is clear about what is happening, it saves a lot of heartache when children get older & often play one parent against another.
Encourage positive communication with each other, If you or your DP are annoyed with your ex - seek each other's support and talk the issues through privately (try not to bag the ex in front of the kids - it will get back to them & hurts the children's feelings), however, if there are some major issues, seek counseling &/or legal help.
Encourage a good relationship between DP & DS - go on family outings together (you probably already do this anyway!), play games/joke around together, get DP to attend prep/school/sporting functions involving your DS.
Discipline guidelines need to be very clear so that DP & DS know EXACTLY what is acceptable & what is not - this may take some time but clear boundaries need to be established & adhered to.
For alone time - use the time your DS spends with his dad to spend quality time with DP - go to a movie, picnic, the footy, art gallery - whatever tickles your fancy! If your DS doesn't go to his dads, then organise for a trusted friend or family member to babysit for a day or night.
It's not easy being a step parent - children aren't usually the problem either as they are so easy to love & cherish, but the exes can be a nightmare! The most difficult thing in my & my DF's experience has been the different communication/expectations/standards & parenting styles we have we have encountered with our exes. It is confusing & frustrating for step children to have one set of rules with their mum & another with their dad. So it's important for the birth parent & the new step parent to be supportive of each other & consistent with discipline & standards.
Enjoy your time as a family - it may take a while for your DP to feel comfortable in his role as a step parent but I'm sure he will find it very rewarding :)
My best advice would have to be good communication all round..
Good communication with the Bio dad between you and your partner (if this is possible)
Good communication also between your partner and yourself as to your parenting styles and what the boundires are going to be
Also its great if the S parent does not over parent but tries to keep a balance of friendship but also somebody who does have some authority with the child iykwim..
:thumbsup: Good luck and dont worry you will work it all out as you go along..:goodvibes:
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