Step Parenting – Before the “I Do’s”
By guest blogger Michele Sfakianos
You and your significant other have committed to be with each other. You are in love, you are happy, and you are looking forward to a brand new life. Do not automatically assume everyone shares your happiness. Chances are, at least your step children do not. But why wouldn’t they? What may lie ahead can have the potential to be both a rewarding and a challenging experience. Know it can take a long time for a blended family to begin to feel comfortable and function as a family, so do not be disappointed if things do not come together immediately. Start planning now before the “I do’s.”
First Things First
You have survived a painful separation, divorce or death of a loved one, and have managed to find a new loving relationship. Your first instinct can often be to rush into remarriage and a blended family without first laying solid ground. Such as:
If you give the right support, all children involved should gradually adjust to the reality of an upcoming marriage and being part of a new blended family.
Each Child is Different
Children of various ages and genders will adjust differently to a blended family. The physical and emotional needs of a two year old girl are incomparable than those of a thirteen year old boy, but do not mistake differences in development and age for differences in fundamental needs. You will need to adjust your approach with the various age levels and genders, but your goal of establishing a trusting relationship is the same.
Young children under 10
Adolescents aged 10-14
Teenagers 15 and older
No matter the age, the gender tendency appears to be:
A family cannot be said to be truly blended until all members – both parents and children – fully accept one another as part of a family unit. Remember, be patient as this can take up to two years or more.
Michele Sfakianos is a Registered Nurse, Life Skills Expert, Speaker, and Award-winning Author of The 4-1-1 on Life Skills and The 4-1-1 on Step Parenting. Michele has been previously published in Nursing Publications and two books on Poetry. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her grandson.