As coParents, we need to love our step-children as our own. In order to create a new healthy blended family, all members need to be considered equal.
Step-children come to us with the person we fall in love with, our new partners. The children come with scars and fears, as they are the victims from the fall out of their parents’ divorce.
Here are the components of being a successful step-parent:
- Acceptance is key. Treat all the children equally. One love, one life. Make time and energy to enjoy your step-children. Cook for them, create Sunday dinners and include them as you would your own children, in all aspects of life.
- Know there will be resentment on your part. This is normal. Get some therapy for yourself, not them! Let go of your jealousy and admit it is hard to be a step-parent.
- Embrace the fact that you will not get immediate gratification for loving your step-children. They will still want their biological mom or dad over you. You will have to listen to them face-time their real parent while you are cleaning the house. You may wind up doing more for them than the other coParent.
Yes, they need and crave your partner one-on-one, without you around. And yes, I know this is hard to accept.
Support your partner in their relationship with their children. Be the adult! Children need to see compassion, understanding and acceptance in order to learn these skills.
Your marriage or coParenting arrangement as a blended family will be stronger when you accept your step-children as your own. You will also set the tone for a family that models we are all one and in this together. Years from now you will see the results, and for that you will be remembered.
Author Debbie Ficarra has been the proud owner of La Canada preschool, located outside of Loa Angeles, for 13 years. Prior to becoming a mother to three daughters, Ficarra gained her childhood education, acquiring her AA in Child Development and BA and Masters in Human Development. She also took the required coursework for a degree in Marriage and Family. Ficarra then purchased La Cañada Preschool, which was a dream come true. As a divorcee, and now newly married, Ficarra also knows about working through a divorce with young children. Her main goal in life – family and at work – is to provide the best environment for her students and children.