Post # 1
My FI and I are recently engaged, we have both been previously married he has two children, two boys 8 and 10 and I have none.
His boys love him unconditionally and he sees them often. He and his ex wife are on very good terms as far as parenting terms. He talks to his boys daily and they love him more than anything!
My question, does anyone have any “new step parent” (gosh do I hate the term step parent!) advice?
Post # 3
@Djacks88: I did the same thing. When DH and I started seeing each other I knew he had 4 kids (2 younger and 2 older) and he got the younger ones every other weekend. We just took it very slow in the beginning to let the kiddos and I develop a relationship on their terms. Not because they ‘had’ to since I was the gf/fi/wife. They called me “Miss Redheadedstranger” because where I come from that’s just considered manners. Now they call me “Momma Redheadedstranger” in addition to “Miss….” on their own.
I’ve talked to my step dad a lot about how to handle certain situations as a step parent. His best advice was being a step parent is one of the most difficult jobs out there because you are NOT their biological parent but you have to walk a fine line between being a friend and being a parent. I’ve stuck with that and not forcing any kind of relationship before they’re ready and it’s worked just fine for me so far. hahaha Granted I was scared out of my brain for the first few months…. but it’s all worked out and I love them like they’re my own.
Post # 4
For me and my DH (who’s a step dad to my 5 year old and was once childless), the most important thing for us is to be a united front. Don’t waiver on discipline issues, don’t be the give-in parent, don’t let them play you against him. DH and I differ on discipline issues–he’s tougher than me. But when he tells DS to stop doing something that maybe I don’t have a problem with and would let him get away with, I still back up DH. We make sure they see a loving marriage and that we are a team. That makes it easier too, if you feel like you have a teammate who’s going through it with you, even if one is the bio parent and you’re not.
Good luck! I’m sure stepparenting has to be THE hardest job…
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Spend the next year getting to know them, together and one-on-one. One-on-one time is good for getting to know each one through joining them in their hobbies/actitivies. Together time is a good for figuring out how you will blend as a family. Don’t try to be their mom, they already have one. You’re going to be a bonus parent co-parenting the boys with dad and mom.
You need to work out with dad what his expectations are for your relationship with his kids and then discuss with him what your expectations are. You need to agree on house rules regarding bedtime, homework, dinner, TV time, etc… My ex used to let my stepdaughter stay up until 11PM or 12 midnight even on preschool nights. It was exhausting because I never had any downtime in the evening to relax before going to bed myself. I finally got him to agree to a 9PM bedtime and evenings became better.
How and when are you allowed to discipline them? This was a big issue when I was a stepmom. I refused to be a glorified babysitter with no power to discipline but my ex husband would go behind my back and tell my stepdaughter yes every time I told her no. There were countless arguments about our different parenting styles and what kind of parenting I was allowed to do because at the end of the day, his feeling was that it was his daughter and he had final say on everything.
Are you going to be expected to take them to school, doctor’s appointments, etc? Will you need to be or be able to take off work if one of the kids needs something but mom and dad are too busy or can’t take the time off?
If you’re allowed to be in contact with the mother and you can do so while staying on good terms, it’s a great idea. Her mom was a great resource for information and tips for a stepmom like me because I didn’t have kids of my own. She and I got along pretty well but I came into the picture late enough that her and my ex husband were also on good terms. Showing her that you just want to be an extra parent but not replace her is going to be important in establishing your relationship with her. This is also really good for your relationship with the kids.
It’s also a good idea to institute family meetings for kids that age. Family meetings are a good time to set new rules/expectations for eveyone and to allow the kids a chance to discuss or ask questions about you and how their fmaily life will/won’t change once you’re married to their dad. I say to have family meetings at least once a month while you’re working out the kinks and getting used to being a blended family.
Finally, if dad and mom have a bad relationship, please don’t make it any more difficult or stressful than it already is. Try to figure out ways to reduce the anger and stress. You may need to serve as a buffer from time to time to help your husband understand where his ex is coming form in order to diffuse a situation.
This is a great resource for bonus parenting: http://www.bonusfamilies.com/