Being a stepmom is no walk in the park. In most circumstances a stepmom receives very little support from the stepkids as well as the other people in the society. Here are 10 tips for being a good stepmother:
1. Establish ground rules
To ensure mutual respect in the family, it is critical to lay ground rules that everyone in the family must abide. If the stepkids are old enough, you can allow them to participate in setting up the rules. You will be surprised to realize that children usually establish stricter punishment for breaking a rule unlike the adults.
When everyone in the family understands the house rules, you and your partner can back each other up when transgression happen. Working together as a team is critical for you as a couple and teaches the children that they will not succeed in dividing and conquering.
2. Enjoy time with your stepchildren
Stepchildren should never be seen as liabilities but as assets in your life. To ensure that you have a good relationship with them, you need to spend quality time with them and interact in meaningful and pleasurable ways. Since quality relationships are built as result of one-on –one interaction, you need to spend time with each of your stepchildren. To enhance your interactions, find interests and activities such as a sport or hobby to engage with them especially when you do not have the burden of parental responsibilities and simply enjoy your time together.
3. Let your partner discipline his children
Remarried fathers should face up to their responsibilities when it comes to teaching their children appropriate behavior. Mental health experts agree that it is the responsibility of your partner to discipline their children. If you discipline them, they are likely to resent you.
Most stepmoms complain that their spouses are too lax and do not provide structures or boundaries for their children after divorce. When stepchildren get out of line, you need to first focus on your partner rather than the children. Let the partner know that he needs to assert his authority in order to help the children grow and develop in a secure and protected environment.
4. You can never fix what you never broke
This age-old proverb still holds true. There are many issues you will encounter which had nothing to do with you. If you always tend to think that everything that has gone awry is of your own making, you will have to spend a lot of time fixing issues you have no business tinkering with. In the process, you will waste a lot of energy working on issues that are best handled by someone else.
5. Allow your partner to participate in taking care of his children
This is one among the 10 tips for being a good stepmother. If you intend to have a healthy relationship with your partner and stepchildren, you should avoid being the primary housekeeper. While you may perform some tasks for the stepchildren just like you would do for other family members, you might become resentful if you feel like you must fulfill all maternal duties for them. Remember that you do not need to be the perfect stepmother and you do not have to do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry for them. Leave some of those duties for your partner to perform even if you are taking care of your own biological children. This will give you room for more activities that give your meaning and pleasure.
6. Forgive yourself
If you are a stepmom, you need to get this straight; you will make a lot of mistakes in the course of interacting with your stepchildren just like other moms do. Most stepmoms spend years convincing themselves that something must be wrong with their parenting skills since you hardly get anything right. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you make and move on.
7. Accept that you and your stepchildren may not always agree or love each other
Stepmothers often think that they are under pressure to love their stepchildren; they also expect the stepchildren to reciprocate the love. Love is something that can never be forced, so if your stepchildren do not agree with you or do not reciprocate your love or vice versa, acknowledge that and do not ask for more. When you get rid of expectations that require you to love your children, it is easier to just be nice to them genuinely; this can eventually lead to love.
8. Have time out with your spouse
You will need to connect with your spouse to help you survive the stresses of stepfamily life. You can never do this unless you make the relationship with your partner top priority. Having fun together strengthens your relationship and makes it easier to ride through the waves when they occur.
9. Do not take it personally
Most stepmoms strive to be loving, considerate and kind to their stepchildren. Unfortunately some of their best efforts are rebuffed which can be very hurtful. If this happens to you, do not take it as a personal attack, instead accept things as they are for your own emotional welfare.
10. Take charge of your happiness
Taking charge of your happiness is among the 10 tips for being a good stepmother. You need to take care of your emotional needs first before everything and everyone else in your life. When you prioritize your emotional welfare, you will be giving yourself the best shot at happiness.