There are some basics that are sound step parenting advice in most situations. Keep in mind that not every child or individual step parent is the same, so nothing is absolutely the same with each family. Being a step parent takes a lot of patience, a good sense of who your step children are, and as much honesty in communication as possible. If you allow for these factors, most step parents will find that they are more successful overall. Here are a few tips that should help along the way.
Remember who you really are. You are not the biological parent to your step children, but you are part of their family. Some step parents try to be a buddy or best friend, yet this is not really the role that is best in most situations. You do want to gain the respect of your step children, but still do not undermine the authority of your spouse in the process. For the most part you should be a partner to the parenting method of your spouse, so that your place is defined by the partnership of your marriage. Try to be both subordinate, yet share the equality of parenting through your role as a husband or wife. It will make more sense to the step children and will not make them feel forced about respecting your place in the family.
Do not try to force your authority upon your step children. This may be frustrating at times, but when you find they are not listening to you, then you should defer to the biological parents. You can say things like, ‘Wait until your mother or father gets home’. This is the most fair and forceful way to show your authority, but not undermine or threaten your step children. Take your time with learning how to interact effectively with your step parenting. It takes patience, but is the better method for the relationship being forged with your step children. Try it and watch the results.
Often step children will want to communicate with you about personal matters, so let this be a way to bond with them. They will eventually open up to you as a step parent, when then do be open to it and do not let past problems block your communication with them. They may have needed to test your patience and trust you will not get unnecessarily angry with them, before they were secure in talking openly about other issues. Learning to communicate with your step children will take as long as it does, but it is worth the effort that you put into it. Communication is the key to any positive step parenting and all family relationships.