voiceBoks® - The Voice of Parenthood

How Step-Parents Can Offer Harsh Alternative Parenting Tactics

Blending a family together comes with its own unique challenges and obstacles. Approximately 30 million children in the U.S. younger than 13 live with an adult who is not a biological parent.

While children thrive on structure and need boundaries to feel secure, they will naturally try to push the limits. A child whose family dynamic has been restructured senses the upheaval and might act out. However, step-parents can take actionable steps to effectively help the family, steering children in the right direction.

step-parents

Watch Your Boundaries

Parents normally feel intense guilt after putting their child through a divorce. Since single parenting is difficult, you might feel inclined to give in to your kids rather than enforce discipline. While bringing a step-parent into the picture can be a difficult transition, it also provides a chance to assess your current parenting tactics.

Step-parents can see bad behavior with fresh eyes and are usually less tolerant of it. They can then address the issue with the primary parent, who should discipline their own child first before the step-parent becomes involved. Do not try too hard to be the cool step-parent or force an instant bond. Creating feelings of love and trust takes time. Be realistic and show unconditional love to develop the close relationship that you desire.

parenting tactics

Expect a Transition Period

Children will need to adapt to a changing family dynamic, which can be admittedly difficult. Everyone needs adequate time to adjust to their new surroundings and people. Rebellion, such as talking back, name calling and similar rude behavior, is to be expected.

In some cases, teens might even engage in dangerous or illegal actions. Instead of focusing on rebellious behavior, give the children options, which helps them feel as if they have a sense of control. and make them feel like a valuable member of the household. Just because your child is trying to engage you in a fight or disagreement doesn’t mean that you have to argue with them. Remember, you don’t have to attend every fight to which you are invited.

Learn to Set Boundaries Effectively

The following guidelines can help with effective boundary setting:

  • Stay on the same page as your spouse when it comes to household rules.
  • Establish clear expectations and consequences and do not deviate.
  • Teach kids acceptable behaviors and self-control through discipline.
  • Hold family meetings so that everyone in the household should be able to share their feelings and concerns with each other. This provides a safe way to bring everyone together to discuss any issues before they spiral out of control.

Remember not to take things personally. When parents divorce, many children fantasize about reconciliation. When a step-parent enters the picture, it puts an end to that dream. Kids need time to mourn their loss and accept their new reality. Consider seeking help from a professional who can assist you through this time of transition.

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +

8 comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Step parenting can be a difficult thing I imagine. As a single parent, I know the kind of buzz saw that someone who would be considering getting into a relationship with a single parent would go through. It’s not easy. But it’s true, that you cannot give them everything. And you also cannot try to compete with the other parent. That doesn’t end well. It’s about unconditional love. And I do see how giving children choices to make them feel like they are in control in an out of control situation would help as well.

  • I haven’t had to deal with step-parenting, but I can imagine that it can be extremely stressful at times. The part where you listed setting boundaries is a great idea. It seems like a lot of people might overlook those without even realizing it. Thanks for sharing this information! 🙂

  • I am lucky and have never had to experience step parenting myself. My husband and I both come from broken homes and thankfully we plan on staying married for life. It is hard to imagine how I would handle another woman mothering my child, I would not take the immature route for sure but it would be a hard pill to swallow. I think as parents we owe it to our children to put them first always despite the issues we may have in our own marriages so if step parenting is part of their lives we need to make sure that we are choosing the correct partners and that they understand the correct parenting methods. These are great tips!

  • This is a very insightful post. I’m not a mother myself but I do have a sister who has been adopted and I know how a struggle it can be. But I really love the quote you put here about being a mother is not all about biology. I hope more people get to read this!

  • Children have it hard enough without having a terrible step-parent. I’m glad to see there are mature adults out there encouraging step-parents to play nicely. I do agree that kids need boundaries. They also need to respect their step-parents.

  • Becoming a stepparent is not always the easiest transition. I highly agree about always sticking with your spouse and being on the same page for rules. It’s key that kids receive consistency with everything in life – even rules and boundaries!

  • Having never dealt with a step- parent or been one, I can’t imagine how hard it must be. However, I think these are great tips for making the transition go more smoothly. I think for all parents– whether in a blended family or not– being on the same page is so vital. When kids know that the answer will be the same no matter who they ask, they recognize that that truly is the rule in their house.

  • I know someone who is really struggling with this. He remarried and is having difficulties connecting with his stepson. I can see how this would be quite difficult. Thank you for these tips.

About Author

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +