Taking on the roles and responsibilities that come with being a partner can be a scary transition by themselves. When you add on the role of being a stepparent and a co-parent, things can get downright terrifying. You may find yourself questioning yourself constantly. Am I crossing boundaries? Am I doing this right?
Every situation is different, but these three stepparent “hacks” can help to ensure that you approach your new roles in a healthy manner. Remember, you set an example for the children. How would you like to see them grow up and approach relationships?
Keep Things Consistent
Often, separated parents create two sets of parenting rules and expectations for their children. This can cause confusion and even rebellion when a child “prefers” the disciplinary style of a specific parent. As you might imagine, things get even more complicated for the partners of separated parents – especially if they are also separated and have kids of their own.
Here’s the thing to remember. You might not love the way that your partner’s ex, or even the way your partner, disciplines your children. They might not love your ideas, either. But you have to get on the same page for the sake of the kids.
This is when a couple’s agreement comes in handy. Talk about your intentions behind your disciplinary style and come up with consistent rules and disciplines for your children as they move from house to house.
Open Up a Group Chat
Yes, this means talking to your partner’s ex. Like it or not, you are “co-parenting” with two or more different people. No matter what has occurred in the romantic aspect of your or your partner’s relationships, you all have one job in common: to keep your kids safe and healthy.
Set up a group chat or email chain where you can all address concerns, discuss issues, or create a budget for parenting. This will make consistent parenting much easier and it will give your children a positive example of teamwork.
Don’t Give in to Jealousy
It can be easy to feel jealous of your partner’s ex for all of the milestones they experienced and the bond they have built with your children. Don’t give in to that jealousy.
Your partner’s ex did not raise their children to spite you – bringing negative emotions into your parenting will only separate you from your children and your co-parents.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
No one said that becoming a stepparent would be easy. Don’t be afraid to reach out to Oregon marriage counselors Tim Higdon and Norene Gronsiewski for relationship help.
We can help you assess your feelings on this new role and give you the tools and skills to help you communicate and parent efficiently while still maintaining a healthy and romantic relationship with your partner.