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Step-Parents Struggle With Acceptance

Posted By Judy Williams || 25-Oct-2013

1075968_47679144Step-parents are an increasingly common aspect of modern families. Nevertheless, families still struggle with the complicated dynamic. Issues associated with disciplining and co-parenting step-children, struggling for the acceptance of a new family, and disputes with ex-partners, commonly arise. As a result, research shows one-third of step-parents look forward to their step-children leaving home, while two-thirds of step parents feel they likely will never be accepted by their new family. Nearly 50% of step-parents admit that such challenges nearly led to a break-up with their partner.

It is natural and common for children to feel resentment and reluctance toward a step-parent; especially given most step-parents enter their step-children’s lives during a period of significant turmoil for the children. Step-parents take on the same commitment and difficulties as biological parents, often without experiencing, at least initially, the benefits a biological parent might. Focusing on the children’s needs above all can help build loving, respectful relationships between a step-parent and step-child.

While step-parenting will always come with its challenges, there are approaches a step-parent can take to put themselves in the best position possible to develop a constructive relationship with their step-children. Maintaining a cooperative and peaceable relationship among exes, as well as between biological parents and step-parents, is critical. Discord and competition between an ex and a new partner is one of the biggest barriers to a positive relationship with step-children. Approaching difficult issues – e.g. holidays, family events, visitation schedules, and conflicting parenting styles – with fairness and open-communication can help both children and parents navigate the unavoidable challenges inherent in a blended family.

Click here to read more about the challenges of step-parenting.

Categories: Divorce

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