How Not to Mess Up As a Stepparent

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I became a stepmom when I was 19 years old to 3 kids. When I became a stepmom, I inherited 2 twins boys that were 4 and a girl that was 5.  They were the best kids I had ever met and I knew that our new family was going to be amazing. Little did I know that being a stepparent was not going to be easy and that after having my own girls, that I would discover that being a stepparent was a lot harder than being a parent to kids that I actually gave birth to. Over the years I learned a lot, and one thing I learned was how not to mess up as a stepparent.

Being a stepparent is hard, so make sure that you know how to not mess up your relationship with your stepkids.

Before I give you tips on how not to mess up as a stepparent, I want to tell you that I have been a stepmom for over 20 years and have made many mistakes. As a 19-year-old new stepmom, I had no idea what to expect when I became a stepmom. I didn’t have any kids of my own so I was going to inherit 3 school aged kids without any advice or tips from the experts. I know that every blended family situation is different but here are some helpful tips that I learned over the years and hopefully these tips will help others learn how not to mess up as a stepparent.

  • Be friendly and inviting when you are around the other parent. Since you are the ‘outsider’ it may be difficult depending on the situation but you have to remain positive, especially when you are around the kids.
  • If your stepchild is venting about their mom or dad, simply listen. Do not add fuel to the fire but give them time to vent and express themselves. If they ask you for advice, simply tell them that they should talk to their mom or dad after they have calmed down or write how they feel in a letter and give it to them.
  • Never correct someone when they ask if these are your kids. Even though they are your stepkids, call them your kids. I hate the word ‘step’. In my opinion, this word causes a lot of division and makes your stepkids sound less important compared to your natural born children.
  • No matter how long you have been your child’s stepparent, do not question when they introduce you as their stepmom or stepdad. Sometimes my stepkids will refer to me as their mom and other times as their stepmom. I know they care about me and I know that they may have a reason to use stepmom at times, so I don’t question it or get hurt by it.
  • Never have a discussion about your stepchild’s other parent around them. If you and your spouse are discussing a situation regarding their other parent, do it away from the child.
  • Remember to acknowledge the other parent during holidays. Encourage your stepchild to create a gift for both parents during special days such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The reasoning behind this is to show your stepchild that you appreciate and respect both of the child’s parents and it also creates a positive atmosphere.
  • Never show signs of jealousy or hurt! For example, when your stepchild draws a family picture that DOES NOT include you, it’s okay, just tell them how beautiful it looks. Don’t ask them where you are, don’t ask them why you were left out, just say how beautiful it is.
  • If you have kids of your own, never treat your stepchild differently.
  • Schedule 1 on 1 time with your stepkids. Leave your husband or wife at home and take them somewhere fun!
  • If your stepchild wants to have a picture of their mom and dad in their room, let them.
  • When your stepchild comes home excited from the other parent’s house and wants to talk about ‘all the fun’ they had, listen and soak it in. Be happy that your stepchild is happy and encourage them to talk about the adventures that they had with their mom or dad.
  • Communicate with both of your stepchild’s parents, not just the one you are married to, but to the one that your spouse used to be married to. Sadly, this isn’t always possible in every relationship but you have to try.
  • Never go against the birth parents. If your spouse’s ex, places punishment on your stepchild for something they did wrong, do not speak negatively of the punishment.
  • If your stepchild wants to move in with the parent that does not have full custodial guardianship, don’t freak out, instead, have a conversation.
  • Remain positive.

Even though I was not prepared for the challenges that being a stepmom would bring, I think I did okay. There are things I’ve said and done that I would definitely take back, but there is no way to do that, so all I can do is learn from them and share my experiences. When you become a stepparent the most important thing to do is to love your newly inherited child or children. Children are beautiful and it’s not their fault that the marriage between their mom and dad was not successful, so it’s our job to be a positive role model.

Please share this with others!

Being a stepparent can be hard, so make sure that you know how NOT to mess up your relationship with your stepkids


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