Parenting is never easy which makes step parenting even harder. At any age, some kids just don’t want to listen to their parents — can you imagine if that person who is trying to talk to them is someone new to their life and isn’t one of their parents? Daunting to say the least. You’re never trying to replace a mother, a father or anyone for that matter, you just want to show the child that you are there for them, you care about them and you love them.

Making a blended family situation to work, you can’t be too much one way or another — not too strict, not a door mat: you have to be able to find the perfect balance. You just need to be patient.

Regular biological families are created slowly so there’s no rush to get everything right with a blended one. On their own, a couple takes time to get used to themselves as a unit and it takes time for each others’ extended family to come into the fold. The children have finally gotten used to the idea of being with one parent at a time and welcoming another person is yet another major change to their lives. The whole family knows the rules and group history but you don’t.

As a step parent, you don’t have to prove yourself worthy of being in the family — you just need to become a part of the family and a good one at that, which will take time. Trying too hard for approval and vying blatantly for their affection will end up pushing the kids away. They may feel resentful and guilty about this person who is trying to ‘replace’ their mom or dad. The harder you try, the more they resist — this can be very frustrating for the step parent who only wants to reach out to the kids.

Be patient because love grows slowly — like when you and your spouse first started dating, it wasn’t all of a sudden, boom! And the age of the stepchild is of no consequence, 3 or 33: everything still applies exactly the same way.

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