Most young girls do not envision a situation where they will become stepmoms at any stage of their lives. Unfortunately due to the high rate of divorce and other marriage complications that arise along the journey of life, an increasing number of women are finding themselves in such arrangements. In spite of what most people think, being a stepmom is not always gloom and doom.
The relationship between you and the stepchildren may not be always cordial but you can learn to make the most of it. Here are 7 parenting tips for every stepmother, that can make your family a happy family:
1. Do not compare yourself with other stepparents
There will always be stepmoms who can hardly give you a moment of peace as they talk about cordial relationship they enjoy with their stepchildren. If you keep listening to such narratives and try to measure yourself against them, you will always come short. Studies have shown that about 70 percent of all blended family marriages fail, if you are holding yours together, you deserve accolades.
2. Avoid engaging in blame games
There will be many times when you will tend to blame most of your problems on your stepkids. Sometimes you will even feel like your husband is part of the problem because he tends to take their side. The truth is that, all of you are to blame for the problems in your relationships. Since you do not have the power to change everybody, you should work to change yourself. Work on that and keep hope alive that your efforts will inspire others to do better.
3. Tough it out and know that you will emerge a better person
There are many times when you will be tempted to abandon the relationship and simply go back to the life you were used to. Years later when you look back at some of those moments, you will be surprised that you ran the gauntlet and made it out in one piece. When you are a stepmom, you need to understand that there will be many emotional challenges, however trust yourself to navigate through and come out wiser. Your family is a work in progress and you do not abandon unfinished projects, you tough it out and see them to completion.
4. Acknowledge that you are not their mother
This is among the important issues to keep in mind when considering the 10 parenting tips for every stepmother. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but you need to accept that you are not their mother or their bonus mom. Your husband may have sole custody of the children and their biological mom may not even be interested in seeing them again but do not be fooled into thinking that you have the same rights and privileges as the mother.
Your stepkids might call you mom and you may have a loving, meaningful relationship with them, however it will always be different from what they may feel for their mother. Rather than get offended by knowing this, you need to embrace and make the most out of it.
5. Occasionally take a step back
Just like most stepparents, you might be tempted to think that your stepkids need you all the time. Wrong. Rule number one, remember you are not their mom and acting like some guardian angel hovering around to attend to their every need and whim will create resentment. Master the art of stepping back and acting behind the scenes to support your husband’s parenting efforts when the need arises.
6. Master the art of silence
The modern world is full of people who are bent on venting their anger, frustrations and disappointments on all manner of platforms including on social media and over the phone. No one likes to keep hearing a stepmom talking about how bad the stepkids or their husband’s ex is. Though it may be hard to keep quiet as a stepmom in the midst of all what might be happening, you are better off practicing silence. If you have to vent, limit it to a few close confidants.
7. Protect your marriage at all costs
Protecting your marriage at all costs is among the 7 parenting tips for every stepmother. You and your spouse need each other’s support and especially when the children are getting unruly. If child rearing is getting too tough, consider seeking the assistance of a marriage counselor to help you wade through the murky waters but do not seek to walk out of the marriage simply because the stepchildren are making life difficult for you. Consulting a counselor will help you to stop beating yourself up and give you the space to realize that what you are going through is normal.
Ensure that you protect your marriage zealously and relentlessly, this will ultimately benefit everyone. The stepchildren need to see you and your spouse sticking together even during tough times. They need to see you fighting for your relationship even when the going is rough. This will teach them that when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going.