One of the most joyous times in a person’s life is when they marry and become parents. For some, this happens all at once, when a person marries someone who has children from a previous marriage or relationship and they have a ready-made family. Although this sounds like an ideal situation it’s important to remember that even the Brady Bunch had to get past hurdles when step parenting young children.
It’s important when going into an already existing family that the children are going to feel a plethora of emotions; happiness for the parent marrying, excitement over a new family member, sadness over such a change and a feeling of confusion because they will want to like the new person but they will feel that by doing so they are being disloyal to their other parent. Just remember that, just as the step parent has to adjust so too do the children let them work through their feelings and they will find their way to the answer right for everyone. Remember, it took you time to process the enormity of the situation and all of its repercussions; it’s no less of a life changing experience for the children involved so they need that same consideration.
The first instinct will be to want to love the children, which is a good place to start. However, remember that, to a child, you are effectively replacing someone they hold dear and cherish, their initial instinct may well be to distrust and dislike you. Just remember that while you want to love and care about them it’s also important for you to be firm and not simply allow the child to do as they please, this will create worse problems later as well as losing the respect of your step child. In time the child will realize that you are an extension of their family and that you care about them and want to be there for them.
Step parenting young children can be a trial on your patience, but it can also be full of rewards.